Friday, February 26, 2010

The Ghost Writer affirms Roman Polanski as an heir to Hitchcock

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM

click to enlarge MAN OF WAR: Former English Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) with his ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor)
  • MAN OF WAR: Former English Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) with his ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor)

In Roman Polanski’s tense thriller The Ghost Writer, Ewan McGregor’s unnamed title role introduces himself to former English Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) by saying, “I’m your ghost.” No undead specter, McGregor’s soft-spoken author merely intends to brush up Lang’s memoirs for publication following the death of his original ghostwriter. When the pen-for-hire discovers the possibility of skeletons in Lang’s closet, he becomes a metaphorical spirit who haunts Lang’s home and history with the hope of revealing the truth.

Clearly patterned after England’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Lang turns out to be a similar “ghost” to Polanski himself. Dogged by accusations of war crimes, Lang lives in a media fishbowl, stalked by protesters and paparazzi, with the very real possibility of arrest if he visits the wrong country. Polanski has lived a comparable life for more than three decades since he fled sentencing for his 1977 sex crime. The parallel proves particularly striking given Polanski’s Swiss arrest on Sept. 26, 2009 (when The Ghost Writer was in post-production), reigniting the debate over the director’s case. The director’s life experience no doubt informed the besieged scenes of Lang and his entourage holed up in a luxurious but bunker-like mansion on an isle off the coast of New England.

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(Photo by Guy Ferrandis)

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