Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday Night at the Movies - The Ghost Writer

Ewan McGregor plays The Ghost, a successful ghost writer who is hired to rewrite the memoirs of charismatic (and Tony Blair-like) former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). The Ghost (who's name is never revealed in the movie) is reluctant to take on the job but the $250,000 paycheck convinces him. Lang is in America, staying at an extremely ugly seaside house, apparently in Martha's Vineyard. The gloomy island of Sylt in the North Sea stands in for Martha's Vineyard. Just as The Ghost arrives, the news breaks that perhaps Lang had ordered the kidnapping and torturing of suspected Muslim terrorists in Pakistan (who happened to be British citizens). Needless to say, this puts a damper on the project. The movie is a nice mystery and well done. An old-fashioned movie in some ways, driven by plot and acting. There is one minor chase scene but it's important to the plot.

Kim Cattrall plays Lang's assistant, Amelia Bly with a sort of icy efficiency. Lang's wife, Ruth (Olivia Williams) suspects that Lang and Bly are screwing around, but this is one mystery that isn't solved. The plot gets a bit convoluted, with implications of ties between the CIA and a US defense contractor (with a name suspiciously like Halliburton). There is a not totally expected resolution which left me satisfied.

Look for a cameo appearance by Eli Wallach as a crusty old beach bum and the first use I've seen of a GPS as a major plot device.

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