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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Ghost Writer (2010)



Reviews and Comments

The Ghost Writer works as a thriller, but it's surprisingly low-key, never really building up the momentum it promises. It lacks the atmosphere and the psychological component that make some of Roman Polanski's other thrillers, like Repulsion and The Tenant, so unbearably intense.

But this wasn't really conceived as a psychological thriller but rather a political thriller. It's clearly not Polanski's forte, and it doesn't help that the conspiracy itself is a remarkably silly one. Sillier still is how it's uncovered: at the appointed moment, the main character spends half a minute Googling stuff on the Internet and stumbles onto the key information, the thing nobody knows and scarcely believes but which blows the lid off the whole plot, on a public web site somewhere. That sort of thing could have been excused in 1995, but in 2010 it's laughably ridiculous.

I am also perplexed by the conspicuous dubbing over of bad words. One is accustomed to seeing this on network television, but why was the film released to theaters and on DVD that way? Personally, I'd rather not have the profanity in the first place, but shooting it and then clumsily dubbing over it just looks shoddy and unprofessional.

Faults aside, there is enough here to recommend the film. I enjoyed the eerie undertone in a number of different scenes and several moments of dialogue, including most of Olivia Williams' scenes and a nice moment with screen veteran Eli Wallach.