Known to US audiences as The Ghost Writer, the perhaps slightly misleadingly UK-titled The Ghost appeared on screens across the UK in April last year to pretty mixed reviews. Recently, it was given a new lease of life as part of the all new deal, which lets customers download Orange iTunes film content for free once a week, so I thought I’d give it a spin.
The film tells the story of a writer (Ewan McGregor), who has been offered the chance to ghost-write the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Lang has retired to the US with his family and is living a very comfortable existence and before long, details of his mysterious premiership are clashing with an emerging scandal which calls into question some of the moral choices he made during his time in office.
It’s hard to get too excited about a movie like The Ghost based simply on things like film trailers and posters. From the footage that emerged before its release, it looked very much like a standard thriller that seemed to have eerily close connections with the relatively recently departed former British Prime Minister in real life. Sure, Pierce Brosnan may physically be about as far from Tony Blair as Daniel Craig is from Gordon Brown, but there were elements of the story relating to the famous ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK that were very familiar.
However, despite the fact that, for the most part, The Ghost is a relatively unexciting piece of cinema, it’s more than competently directed by Roman Polanski and would be an ideal midweek rental. It even looked pretty solid as I watched it on my iPhone 4. Interesting too is the comparative reality between the exiled Prime Minister and Polanski himself. The director himself knows what it is like to spend the rest of his life in another country for fear of his past coming back to haunt him – and there is a touch of paranoia in this tight little drama that seems to stem specifically from here.
The Ghost – or The Ghost Writer if you would prefer – is far from a classic. But with decent performances from Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan and a steady hand on the other side of the camera, it just about delivers 128 minutes of solid entertainment. If you did miss out on the Orange Thursdays offer, it’s readily available on DVD, Blu-ray and online rental outlets now. For my money, it’s definitely worthy of your time.