Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ghost Writer

Roman Polanski's latest is a superbly paced thriller that keeps you on your toes till the end. Call it coincidence both Shutter Island and this movie is about events happening in an island off Massachusetts. While Shutter Island is creepy and plays not-so-subtle mind-games with you, this movie is more nuanced, has a relaxed pace that makes you feel like you are reading a novel and is probably more intelligent than the former. While it tells a story involving a professional writer who ghost writes autobiographies of famous people, the movie straddles the line of political thriller Vs 'who dun it' murder mystery.

The movie's class lies in the way it introduces the various characters and goes about telling their story. Ewan McGregor plays the lead character, who remains nameless throughout the movie, without the namelessness being conspicuous. When he introduces himself as 'I am the ghost' we see his self-deprecating humor and not Polanski's sleight of hand at work. He has a dry sarcasm and a sharp sense of humor and is our eyes into that world. We meet and know about each character through Ewan McGregor's eyes. The movie does the likeable thing of making everybody look suspicious and at the same time make him (and us) eliminate everybody as a suspect. An interesting aspect about this is that an important character dies in the opening frame of the movie but he manages to tell his story and influence the life of others one way or the other. I especially loved the way the movie hinted at the multiple layers of ghost writers (both literal and metaphorical) present in the Prime Minister's life.

This movie has its share of flaws too. The ending and I mean the last frame that you see in this movie is as open ended as it is shocking. The payload is just not there as you wonder 'but why.. how...i don't understand'. There are several threads that are tied in a way or revealed to us in a way that makes sense at that moment (or seems important at that moment) but later does not impress us much. The movie certainly falls short in answering our 'so what?' questions. That aside the journey to the end was fascinating. Ewan McGregor is a gifted actor. Polanski shows once again that he is an extremely skilled movie maker.

8 comments:

miss j said...

the strong sense of isolation in the movie can only mean how isolated Polanski feels under his house arrest in Switzerland! ;p but who cares about his personal life when he delivers masterpieces as this...

miss j said...

the strong sense of isolation in the movie can only mean how lonely he must feel under his house arrest in Switzerland. :p But who cares about his personal life when he delivers masterpieces such as this?

Thatisthetruth said...

Goundamani is no more! Next post on him please.

I said...

Watching movies made by French child-molesters is surely a step up.

Alan Smithee said...

Goundamini is still alive aam..

http://cinema.dinamalar.com/tamil-news/1895/cinema/Kollywood/rumours-about-goundamani.htm

வழிப்போக்கன் said...

Thatisthetruth said...

Goundamani is no more! Next post on him please.
- This is not true; based on Chennai Cine Roumours.
He is under treatment in Apollo, Chennai.

Anuradha said...

How you you find the time to watch so many movies??

~Anu

Hawkeye said...

10 clk shows. take the baby in. baby sleeps. we watch padam.