The Ghost Writer
starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Kattrall, Olivia Williams, James Belushi, Tom
Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton and Eli Wallach
screenplay by Robert Harris and Roman Polanski
directed by Roman Polanski
Based on the book The Ghost by Robert Harris, Ewan McGregor plays a ghost writer hired to help retired British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) prepare his memoirs for publication. McGregor is a replacement ghost writer, brought in after his predecessor dies under mysterious circumstances. The Right Honorable Mr. Lang is under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Haguefor war crimes stemming from revelations that as Prime Minister he acquiesced to turning over British Muslim citizens over to the CIA for ‘rendition’(torture) as part of the war on terror. So, obviously Tony Blair is the model for Adam Lang. After Blair and President George W. Bush left office each was threatened with indictment on war crimes charges in third country courts over their governments’ prosecution of wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Rightly, in my opinion. Illegal wars - which the Iraq War undoubtedly was and the Afghanistan War arguably still is, means war crimes. The United Statestoday is the worst rogue nation and the greatest criminal nation and threat to peace and the rule of law in the world. But that’s another story.)
Things are not right in the Lang camp. What the former PM says doesn’t always coincide with what he wrote in his draft, or with supporting documentation. Investigation of the death of the previous ghost reveals some really strange things going on. Eli Wallach makes a cameo appearance to drop an information bomb. Lang’s behavior is volatile. The atmosphere is uncomfortable. A thrilling secret waits to be revealed against the efforts of shadowy men in black to suppress it.
I thought it ought to have been a better film. I also never thought much of Eli Wallach’s acting. But I think if he lives long enough he might be called the greatest living Hollywood legend.