Friday, 24 September 2010

No.57 : The Ghost



No spooks here; ‘The Ghost’ in question is a ghost writer hired to re-write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister after the original scribe takes a dive off a ferry.

The story is so clearly based around a certain former PM that they could have called it ‘The Tony Blair Story’ and it wouldn’t have been any more obvious.

Anyway the writer in question is played by Ewan McGregor who starts off with an annoying accent that he wisely ditches early on. He’s hard drinking and lacking in scruples especially when $250k is dangled for the re write job. He heads off to Massachusetts to meet the former PM who is played by Pierce Brosnan in his usual dependable but predictable manner. He is married to the feisty Olivia Williams and has the slutty one off ‘Sex and the City’ as an assistant.

As Ewan and Pierce start to go over the latter’s life a story breaks of war crime charges being brought against the former James Bond by his former Foreign Secretary. Ewan has to move into Brosnan's home to get away from the protesters and is soon moving into his wife as well. Now ensconced into the dead ghost writer’s room he discovers some photos and a phone number which lead him to betray his lazy hack credentials and begin an investigation that’ll threaten his life and reveal some frankly quite dull conspiracies.

‘The Ghost’ is a decent enough thriller but the finale lets it down badly as do the revelations which are pretty low key. The mystery itself takes an age to unravel and some of the conundrums like the conflicting dates had to be slowly explained to me to reveal their minor significance.

Other well worn devices like the checking of the sat-nav and the most helpful Google searches you’ll ever see make the whole thing seem a bit pat. There is a small element of danger introduced with the familiar ‘men in black car following’ used to no real effect.

Of the cast Olivia Williams is the best as the ‘power behind the throne’ wife although her bed hopping antics didn’t really ring true. Brosnan is OK as the slightly unhinged and a bit dumb former PM and McGregor is decent in a significant role. Obviously working with director Roman Polanski is a great draw to the acting community with familiar faces all over the place which can sometimes hinder a film as the audience keep stepping out the narrative to say ‘what was he in again?’.

At over two hours the film drags on a bit and when the foreign secretary gets out the manuscript and starts reading I thought we were going to see him read every word. The direction and script were fine but for the most part the film was a bit of an anti-climax where not a lot happens. A similar but far more enjoyable film is ‘Spartan’ and if you’d two hours to kill I’d go with that.

THE Tag Line - Ghost Lacks Fright Or Bite 65%

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