Monday, 19 April 2010
REVIEW: The Ghost
Its pretty hard to see this movie away from the whole Roman Polanski thing. Its seems likely that this will be his last film, as he spends the rest of his days behind bars. Perhaps where he should have spent a few more. The movie world would be without a few great, great movies, but using that is an excuse seems the slightest bit deluded. Guy raped a teenage girl and genius or no, there is only one response to that.
So The Ghost is given an added extra-textual weight in which this is the last work ever to come out of a movie -making genius, and someone who I would put up there as flat-out one of the best film-makers of the 20th century, but this seems a little unfair. The Ghost isn't Chinatown or Rosemary's Baby. It's an efficiently crafted, well-acted thriller that is taut, intelligent and keeps you guessing. And that's all really. It may lay claims to political relevance, but this didn't really bite for me. It sensationalized the politics from which it drew a bit to heavily ( The Blairs were on the books of the CIA indeed) which means it can be seen as nothing more then entertainment. But view it as that and its a perfectly fine way to spend £7.50/ 2 hours.
I have kind of enjoyed Pierce Brosnan's post-Bond career. There's been cack, but he's shown a desire to do some interesting work and the talent to back at it up. The Matador is probably his tour de force, but he does a scarily textured Tony Blair impression here, complete with all the mannerisms, illusions of relatability and two-faced behavior. I liked his performance as 'Stephen Lang' quite a bit. And Ewan McGregor makes for a perfect audience surrogate in this kind of thing. There's a doe-eyed naivete in his performances that makes him a person who could be believably be manipulated. That sounds like an insult but he is actually good here in a relatively empty lead role. Dollhouse's Olivia Williams shows up in a welcome substantial role as Ruth Lang (Cherie Blair) and brings here trademark closed of seething bitterness, which is always great to see.
Its a plot driven movie, and that aspect is handled smoothly enough going from point to point with pleasing drive, and this movie makes some great comedic use of the phrase ' For Fuck's sake' something that clearly not enough movies do. It has a strong if not mind-blowing final act, and all in all its kind of like Shutter Island, in that it covers a bunch of stuff we've seen done before very well. This isn't quite that movie though, but if it is Roman Polanski's swansong, then there are worse ways to go out.