ROMAN POLANSKI – THE GHOST WRITER

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Director Roman Polanski’s THE GHOST WRITER is an intriguing rainy day-type mystery-thriller. The screenplay by Robert Harris – based on his novel, The Ghost – is cleverly constructed, featuring narrow escapes, the usual suspects, a bit of flesh and sex, and a splash of Movie Glamour in the surprise appearances of Duncan Shiek and Eli Wallach. The style and presentation of the film is reminiscent of the BBC mini-series, House of Cards. Pierce Brosnan delivers a fine performance as the former British Prime Minister, “Adam Lang” – who is enough of a Tony Blair-type for easy visual association. Lang has been accused of a war crime by a former Cabinet minister. Lang, he says, authorized an illegal round-up of suspected terrorists and handed them over to be tortured by the CIA. It’s very bad publicity considering that Lang’s memoirs are scheduled to hit the book stalls – that is, after the ghost writer, played by Ewan McGregor, has tidied up the manuscript completed by the former ghost writer whose body washed ashore near the former Prime Minister’s home. The kicker is a rumor. Somewhere “in the beginnings” of the manuscript is the Real Truth. Perhaps the new ghost writer will discover it.

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EWAN McGREGOR – as the Ghost Writer. Photo, Guy Farrandis

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OLIVIA WILLIAMS (Ruth Lang) and PIERCE BROSNAN (Adam Lang)

Olivia Williams (Dollhouse, Miss Austen Regrets) plays the PM’s Lady Macbeth-ish wife, Ruth Lang. She is tweaked that her husband’s very personal secretary is also his mistress – all of them living under the same roof with a host of bodyguards and the very latest in security devices. Ruth has a few devices of her own. She manipulates her way into the arms of the ghost writer, newcomer Ewan McGregor. The author has an odd sense of humor. But he’s signed a contract that will bring him $250,000. Too bad he becomes the man who knew too much.

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KIM CATTRALL (Amelia Bly) and EWAN McGREGOR. Photo, Guy Farrandis

Fans of Sex and the City will appreciate the voluptuous charms of Kim Catrall as the victim mistress, “Amelia Bly”. She knows more than the PM’s private fantasies. She’s got all the codes to all the alarms that safeguard the manuscript. She will be shocked at the wife’s best-kept secrets and ultimately vengeful nature.

The Ghost Writer is not the most intense of cinematic murder mysteries. But the plot is engaging and director Polanski creates a vision that is efficient and smart. In many ways, the settings, the performances and location atmospheres are an homage to the classic elements of film noir – most of all, the Femme Fatale and the Wronged Man.

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PIERCE BROSNAN – as Adam Lang

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ROMAN POLANSKI, Director. The Ghost Writer. Photo, Guy Farrandis

Click on the photo to order these novels by Robert Harris:

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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