With Great Britain in the throes of an election, along comes a very timely film, The Ghost Writer.
Ewan McGregor plays an un-named writer who is asked by his agent to be the ghostwriter of the autobiography for ex-British Prime Minister Adam Lang. He is sent to Lang's home, a beautiful oceanfront house on the east coast of the United States, and it is McGregor’s job to put Lang’s words more eloquently into finishing the book. They have very little time to spend going over Lang's life as a scandal erupts, and Lang is accused of a crime by an ex-cabinet minister. While the crime is not specifically shown, it is an allegation that he allowed the CIA to torture British terrorists, which Lang vehemently denies.
This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The previous ghostwriter died under mysterious circumstances, and McGregor's character discovers clues in the previous manuscript along with clues in the house which make him think that things are not what they seem. Then a mysterious man comes up to McGregor’s character in a bar and asks about Lang's whereabouts. (This man appears a few more times in the film and it is later revealed that his son had died in the war, and it appears that this man is seeking revenge.) Throw in some other mysterious political characters - and Kim Cattrall as Lang's beautiful and fabulous Chief of Staff who appears to harbor more secrets than she is willing to tell - and you have one great, well-timed political thriller.
The film gets more and more suspenseful, and it is to director Roman Polanski’s credit that the film maintains its suspense up until the very end. Ewan McGregor is at the top of his game as the ghostwriter, and this film puts him right up there with the leading actors of today. Former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, with his handsome good looks, slicked back hair and confident stride, is a natural to play a British politician. Kim Cattrall shows another side to her acting skills and practically steals every scene she is in, and with a marvelous British accent, proves that she can do dramatic work and not just play Samantha-type Sex & the City roles.
As Britons head to the polls next week, and with the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars not at all a distant memory, The Ghost Writer's presence in theatres (and top ranking film status in England) could make an impression when people go to vote.