The film is so much better, and closer to Chinatown than critics gave it credit for in 2010.
Including the Chinatown comparisons are little things like the hired help at the house on the ocean sweeping the never-ending grass off the deck (being blown on by wind) just like the saltwater pool in the backyard of Dunaway’s house in Chinatown
There are also comparisons to both Chinatown and rosemary’s baby (and other polanski’s films) with the sheer paranoia and anxiety he’s able to create. Powerful stuff.
McGregor googling CIA contacts scene reminds me of Mia Farrow reading the book on witchcraft.
I’ve seen the film 3 times and every time I feel like it’s a HR- Highly Recommend or essentially a top 10 film of 2010, and then they film ends with two of the better scenes in the last decade including the shot of the note being handed from McGregor to Olivia Williams. The second shot is of course that final shot- the equivalent of the “forget it, Jake, It’s Chinatown” shot of the hit and run and pages of the unpublished book sweeping away. Fantastic finish
The Ghost Writer (2010)
– Starts with shot of boat in heavy rain
– Heavy use of gray and blue in mise en scene to match dreary atmosphere
– 13:02 rough waters on the Ferry, foreshadowing
– Adam Lang’s house is located along a beach with lighthouse in the distance
– Walk along beach around 20 min the Ghostwriter character is a little apprehensive with Lang’s security following him and Lang’s wife
– Repeated lighthouse shots around 22 min
– 30:46 great shot of Lang with his arms on the clear window in his study room
– 37:35 interesting shot at hotel room with light from 4 lamps on perimeter
– 40:44 Ewan McGregor’s character is given the room of the prior Ghostwriter who supposedly committed suicide
– Lang has big personality like Trump or George W Bush
– Lean script, even small characters introduced appear later like at 45:50 we see the father of a soldier killed in war with the rest of the anti-Lang protesters
– 48:44 Ghostwriter finds old pictures of Lang in College and newspaper cut outs in the room of the former Ghostwriter
– 51:50 zoom out shot, depth of field
– Similarities to Chinatown (1974) superficially with the intelligent lead character who is trying to figure out what’s going on but is always a step behind
– Weather as character, always raining and gloomy outside
– 1:04:00 dinner conversation between Ghostwriter and Lang’s wife Ruth, they have good chemistry together, clearly a mutual attraction
– 1:18:00 Ghostwriter visits Tom Wilkinson character, narrow road leading up to house creating claustrophobic feeling
– 1:26:47 Wilkinson’s character issues not so subtle threat as Ghostwriter digs further in Lang’s past
– 1:33:13 one of strongest compositions with Ghostwriter standing outside by hotel with bright red sign on right side of screen and blue night sky filling left side
– Excellent score throughout, hits the right balance not too overpowering but adds to paranoia/suspense
– 1:39:28 Polanski’s famous peephole shot used in Rosemary’s Baby and The Tenant
– Last 10 minutes are very strong indeed
– Very lean film, excellent narrative that moves along with no unnecessary scenes or pointless sub plots, almost Chinatown like especially in how Ghostwriter (like JJ Gites) is always a step behind in a scenario with much more powerful people pulling the strings
– Lack of resolution to a degree
Very strong narrative with little to no fat, just moves along
Like all Polanski films heavily atmospheric, great use of shadows, subtle score, colors (gray and blue), and weather (constant rain)
Strong performance from McGregor who becomes a sort of sleuth a la Jack in Chinatown, and like JJ Gites he has a natural curiosity and is in a situation where more powerful people seem to be pulling all the strings leaving him to be playing catch up
@Drake-Is Olivia Williams getting a mention in the 2010 page for The Ghost Writer(2010)? She is great here.
[…] The Ghost Writer – Polanski […]
Has to be in discussion for best final shot of the 2010s right? Having a hard time thinking of much but this feels like it has to be right at the tip of the top?
@Matthew – of course. Maybe Melancholia, Black Swan can compete as well
@Matthew – did my best to collect them on the 2010 page
@Matthew – Are you talking about the year 2010 or the decade 2010s?
2010s decade, should have specified