12-02-2010

FNE at Berlinale 2010: The Ghost Writer

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BERLIN:The ghost of the absent director Roman Polanski, under house arrest in Switzerland, hung over the premier of his film in competition in Berlin. The Polish born director was arrested in September but finished the film while in prison and later from his chalet where he was awaiting a decision on extradition to America.

Speaking at the press conference actor Pierce Brosnan who plays the ex-Prime Minister Adam Lang in the film said: "I was shocked and very disappointed by the arrest and I wondered why now after such a long time." All the actors and the writer Robert Harris who write the book the film is based on expressed their deepest admiration of Polanski as an artistic and who much they had enjoyed working with him.

Ghost Writer is the story of a British ghostwriter who is hired to write the memoirs of an ex-prime minister who closely resembles Tony Blair while his wife Ruth closely resembles Blair's wife Cherie. Lang is a king who has fallen from grace and is living in America on Martha's Vineyard. When Lang is accused of war crimes the film seems to imitate life although the book was written in 2007 well before the Chilcot inquiry.

During the press conference writer Robert Harris said that he had Tony Blair in mind when he wrote the book and that the book and the film are about the decline of the Britain as an independent country into what has now become the 51st state of America.

The film is a Chandler style thriller with a surrealistic atmosphere that is reminiscent of Polanski's Chinatown. As the plot thickens the ghostwriter played by Ewan McGregor realizes that there are dark secrets that Lang is not ready to include in his memoires and that people are being killed to cover up. In the end it seems that Lang himself may have been recruited by the CIA.

The film is full of twists and turns and is stamped with the Polanski style throughout. A powerful narrative and a strong cast make this a pleasure to watch.

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Pierce Brosnan

France / Germany / United Kingdom

Worldsales: Summit Entertainment