Like another thriller, Rebecca, The Ghost Writer features a protagonist whose name the audience never learns. Hired by a recently disgraced ex-prime minister modeled on Tony Blair, Ewan McGregor’s character is referred to simply as the ghost. He walks into a position vacated by a man who died by his own hand or was it something more sinister? Things are not what they seem in this movie.
First, there is the prime minister’s wife who seems to hold quite a bit of decision making power. She sulks about the personal assistant’s relationship with Blair, I mean Lang, which seems to be very personal indeed.
There are clever cuts that lead the viewer to think just a bit ahead of the Ghost, who becomes more and more sympathetic as he seems to be the only honest person in the movie, honest to the point of carelessness. This puts him in danger and lets Polanski demonstrate his finesse for filming paranoia, and McGregor’s ability with a clean line like “I’m in trouble.”
What a relief to be in the hands of an expert filmmaker like Polanski who is adept at telling a tricky story without an excess of explosions or noise.