Roman Polanski has recently spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and much of the attention has concerned his arrest by Swiss authorities on an outstanding American warrant. If you don’t know the details by now then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock.
And as if filmmaking was already not difficult enough, the Polish director was forced to complete postproduction on his latest film, The Ghost Writer, while locked up in a Swiss prison. Fun times.
The film follows a biographer (Ewan McGregor) tasked with ghostwriting the memoirs of a disgraced former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) after the mysterious death of the original writer. The film is an adaptation of the novel The Ghost by Robert Harris who also co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski. The film’s cast includes A-listers Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan as well as Jon Bernthal and Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall.
Say what you will, Polanski is a cinematic genius. An Oscar winner for The Pianist, he has also directed the masterpieces Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion. He attended the highly acclaimed film school in Lodz, Poland and first rose to international prominence with a black and white Polish film called Knife in the Water. The film was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Academy Award but eventually lost to Federico Fellini’s 8½.
He’s also a man with an extremely turbulent past. A number of his family members died during the Holocaust and he himself had to endure the Nazi created Kraków Ghetto. Later his pregnant wife Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family and he was subsequently arrested for the sexual assault of a thirteen-year-old in Los Angeles.
Although he tends to avoid autobiographical topics, his films always exude an aura of the drama and conflict in his personal life. It will be interesting to see how much of Roman Polanski is in The Ghost Writer.
This movie is the work of a man who knows how to direct a thriller. Smooth, calm, confident, it builds suspense instead of depending on shock and action. The actors create characters who suggest intriguing secrets. ROGER EBERT Chicago Sun-Times
The Ghost Writer…shows Polanski in brilliant command of a political thriller that ties you up in knots of tension while zinging politics and showbiz like two sides of the same toxic coin. PETER TRAVERS Rolling Stone
This is his most purely enjoyable picture for years, a Hitchcockian nightmare with a persistent, stomach-turning sense of disquiet, brought off with confidence and dash. PETER BRADSHAW The Guardian
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