The Ghost Writer

Roman Polanski and Ewan McGregor on set of "The Ghost Writer"

A ghostwriter is an individual hired to write texts that are officially credited to another person, such as politicians, who are known for requiring one to draft or edit their autobiographies. This is what Roman Polanski’s 2010 political thriller The Ghost Writer is all about. Ewan McGregor plays the ghostwriter hired to edit the memoirs of Pierce Brosnan, who plays former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang, and the story begins when McGregor is brought on board to replace the former Prime Minister’s ghost, who was ‘conveniently’ found dead on an isolated shore.

I must admit, I had little knowledge of the film prior to watching it, but was excited to see the sort of magic Polanski would be able to create out of such a seemingly simple concept. The film was visually breathtaking, the shots were all perfectly framed and executed, the colour scheme eerie yet enticing, and the actors were perfectly cast. It was delightful to see Kim Cattrall in a role other than that of Samantha Jones on Sex in the City. Who knew the woman could actually be taken seriously? I must admit that my favourite part of the film was the ending. The director leaves the audience with this ambiguous conclusion, a state of not knowing what has officially happened to our beloved protagonist (McGregor). Polanski makes the conscious decision to have the actor walk out of the frame, the camera remaining still and not following him, in order to maintain the audience’s attention and shock them again, once they feel comfortable and content that the entire plot has been solved. With this, he brilliantly keeps you on the edge of your seat until the credits role! The audience is left with a simply framed shot where the manuscript papers lawlessly begin to sweep the dim Britain streets, entering from the right side of the frame where McGregor exited. The only sounds present are the sheets of paper, whipping through the air, and most likely the viewers own heavy breathing after a startling gasp! We do not know if anything was deliberate or accidental, all that I know is that this film is definitely not prosaic. I am eager to see the next piece of poetic beauty Polanski constructs from his brilliant mind and I hope that if any of you have the time, you sit down and watch this film. Everyone needs an engaging thrill every now and then!


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