Polanski packs a powerful punch with his latest political thriller, written in collaboration with the novel’s
author Robert Harris. From one of his opening shots of a lone car, deserted aboard an evening ferry crossing, you can feel the trepidation mounting and you know you’re in the hands of one of the
masters of the genre.
Macgregor is convincing as the unassuming London writer who in trying to graft a living agrees to ghost-write the memoirs of the former prime minister, Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). He signs up to the lucrative contract and relocates to the US, home of Adam and his family. Through a series of chance encounters he learns that the assignment could cost him his life. Lang has a secret that our hero unwittingly stumbles
upon and can’t avoid or ignore. The ‘ghost’s’ lack of pretensions make him likeable and his fate even more compelling.
Monochrome colours, typical of Polanski’s thrillers, and wintry seaside views create a grim mood, while
looming rain clouds and characters caught in sudden downpours strike an ominous chord reminiscent of Hitchcock. A sharp dialogue punctured with dry humour adds pace and there’s an energetic vibe to
the music score, similar to the one used in his earlier Frantic.
Kim Catrall plays his attractive, dutiful and somewhat austere PA, a nice break from Samantha in Sex and the City and Olivia Williams is superb as the confident but bitter wife who delivers some of the best lines.
While loosely based on Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie Booth, the film won’t disappoint, whatever your political persuasion.