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post #1 of 5 Old 08-08-10, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Ghost Writer - Blu-ray Review



Title: Ghost Writer
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Written by: Robert Harris
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hrs
Release Date: August 3, 2010


Movie

You're paying $10 million for a book you might make two or three million with...

The Ghost, (McGregor) as he is referred to, is being interviewed for a new writing job. His agent, Rick, assures him that the job will be huge for him, not only for his portfolio, but for his wallet as well. The Ghost makes it clear that he is not into politics, he does not follow politics, the most political event he has ever participated in was voting, although he did vote for Adam Lang (Brosnan) for prime minister, for whom in fact the book is about. Rick assures the Ghost that voting for him was enough to convince him he was the guy for the job. As the Ghost arrives to his interview to meet with the publisher, editor, and a representative for Adam Lang, the editor tells the Ghost know that he does not feel the Ghost is fit for the job, however the publisher and Adam Lang's representative feel otherwise. When asked what he will bring to the job, the Ghost replies, "I bring nothing to the table." He further explains that he means he knows nothing of politics, nothing of Adam Lang, and it is the knowledge of nothing that will allow him to get to the real story of Adam Lang and who he is as a person, not just a prime minister.


The Ghost soon realizes that this book will not be a walk in the park. The book has already been in production for quite some time before him, but when the original writer is found ashore dead, the Ghost becomes concerned as to why a ghost writer would wind up dead. On top of that, he is told he has one month to complete the job, however the book is already written, and the Ghost just needs to proof it, make corrections, add some in, take some out, and arrange the memoirs to tell the complete story of Adam Lang. While his time frame is fairly short, the job itself sounds to be a breeze. That is until the Ghost becomes acquainted with Lang's people, and is introduced to Lang's life and home, as well as the rough draft of the book. The Ghost's first assignment is to read the entire book before Lang arrives home in four hours. Finishing the 600 page book, the Ghost is clearly frustrated with the arrangement and writing style of the book.

Lang arrives home, and he and the Ghost have a question and answer time as the Ghost begins to ask Lang about his beginnings and why get chose the field of politics. Lang gives a touching story on how he actually wanted to be an actor, but when he met his eventual wife-to-be it was because of her that he chose the field of politics. The first interview seemed to go well for the Ghost, he was given a lot of helpful information and information that would make the prime minister look more human, rather than the monster as some people referred to him when seeing him on television. Tensions don't stay calm for long after that first interview. The Ghost is introduced to Lang's dark side when the news reports of his upcoming trial on his war crimes is announced. Lang allegedly handed over prisoners to the CIA for torture. Citizens did not like him not only because of the war crimes, but because their children were being sent off to a war that they did not need to be a part of, and this dislike led to many protests outside of Lang's quarters.

As the Ghost begins to dig for information on Lang, he starts to find clues as to why his predecessor was found along the shore where he had supposedly drowned. When the Ghost is encouraged to live at Lang's house for protection, he begins to search the room of predecessor, he comes across information on Lang; pictures, dates, letters, phone numbers. Dates that showed when Lang was officially brought into politics and how they contradicted his story about his wife getting him into politics. Pictures with phone numbers and addresses to people Lang in fact mentioned in his memoirs. After meeting with some of the people in the photographs, and finding out more information, the Ghost calls a phone number that leads him to one of Lang's colleagues. After a brief meeting, the Ghost is put to work by Lang's former colleague to bring out the truth about Lang and his war crimes, the Ghost reports any new information he finds behind Lang's back.

In the end, Adam Lang's memoirs are published, the Ghost was never able to find the information he needed to prior to publishing the book, that is until the party that is put on for Lang's published memoirs when the Ghost gives it one last try to figure out this mystery and finally solves Adam Lang's war crimes mystery, but it is too late for the Ghost to do anything and is unable to out Adam Lang and his crimes.

Rating

Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity, which is only the backside of McGregor, and some violence. There is one f-word, and handful of others in Ghost Writer.


Video

The video was superb. The 1080p 2.34:1 transfer was as crisp and clear as a picture can get. Very little grain was present during the film, however, I found that this added a darker feel to the mysterious story being told The color palette was primarily a dark cool tint which again, I thought factored greatly into the story and the direction of the movie. Polanski did a tremendous job with angles and cuts, making for a great blu-ray to view for any home theater enthusiast.

Audio

Presented in a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack, the audio was tremendous. And of course the DTS intro at the beginning is almost just as good as the THX audio intro to movies. While this was a thriller and the primary focus was on the dialogue, there were numerous silent moments where all you heard were leaves rustling through the woods, the waves crashing on the beach, a boat closing in to harbor, all making for a great sense of location and really putting the audience into the movie.

However, I have only one complaint about the audio. There is on part fairly early in the movie where Brosnan's character Adam Lang uses the f-word in his sentence as he is screaming at the news being told on the television. But, you do not hear the f-word, another word was put in it's place, but you can tell very clearly that he is not speaking what you are hearing. I'm sure it was because there was already and f-word in the movie and they wanted to say within that PG-13 rating, but it seemed like a amateur mistake and I think there were other was to make that scene work without butchering the audio.

Extras

The Ghost Writer: Fiction or Reality? (1080p, 10:46)
The Cast of 'The Ghost Writer' (1080p, 11:48)
Interview With Roman Polanski (1080p, 8:38)

Overall

This was a great political thriller. I thought the story was perfect and the acting was superb. While the story was fairly easy to predict, how the story went from part A to part B was well put together and not very predictable. I was told by man that this movie took about 15-20 minutes to get moving, but I disagree. I thought the beginning part of this movie was a vital part of the movie as a whole, as are most beginnings of thrillers. Summit Entertainment, in my book, is becoming a studio of very well put together movies. As most of you know the success of the Twilight series, and as per my review on "Remember Me," Summit is becoming a studio of top notch films with great stories... In my opinion.

However, I do not want it to seem that I'm giving Ghost Writer a watch over and over again rating, unlike movies like "Shutter Island" you will not see too many parts that you missed during the first or second viewing. Although, Ghost Writer was a very entertaining movie, and I would recommend it for purchase. You may not watch it again and again, but I think it's a great thriller, if you are into thrillers, to have on hand for those days you are in the mood for this genre of movie.

The acting was great, I thought Brosnan played a great prime minister that was hated by many. It's almost as if he portrays a lot of political faces that go through everyday scrutiny of being a politician and being liked by few. The anger that had built up in him, the constant putting on a smile for the camera, and the worry if someone would be out to kill you. McGregor, as well play a very persuading ghost writer that literally knew nothing of politics. I'm sure any writer who keeps up with politics (in Ghost Writer), would have known before hand that Adam Lang's memoirs may not be the smartest of decisions. The directing was obviously top-notch, this was a great Polanski film that will definitely be one of his top movies, in my books.

All in all, whether you buy or rent this movie, I would definitely recommend it for at least one viewing.


Steffen Harris
www.steffenharris.com
"A photograph is like the recipe - a memory the finished dish"
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-10-10, 12:10 PM
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Re: Ghost Writer - Blu-ray Review

Really enjoyed this film. I'd also agree that the acting was superb, from Belushi and Hutton's minor roles to what is one of Kim Cattrall's best performances. Polanski really gets the most out of all the actors in this film. Steffen did not mention her but, IMO Olivia Williams turned in the standout performance of this film.

Unfortunately in this day and age of instant satisfaction, non-stop action, silly dialog and mind numbing plots; many people will likely not be able to sit down and enjoy this film.

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post #3 of 5 Old 08-10-10, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ghost Writer - Blu-ray Review

Oh I agree, it almost seems as of late, there are a lot of well put together films such as Ghost Writer, but they do not do very well in the box office simply because they make you think. However, it's definitely worth a purchase.

Steffen Harris
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-10-10, 01:13 PM
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Re: Ghost Writer - Blu-ray Review

Great review!!! It looks like a great film.

Matt

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post #5 of 5 Old 08-26-10, 12:06 AM
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Re: Ghost Writer - Blu-ray Review

I had this movie on Blu-ray on 8/20 in my home theater getaway. Excellent review, and in my opinion, spot on. Agree with other posters on the movie's unusual emphasis on style, as opposed to mind-bending actions and plots. It's no accident that this movie was recommended to me by a co-worker, who is a history buff. loves to read and does not mind thinking hard. The following is my notes on this movie. Just watned to add my 2 cents and pay tribute to a truly unique film:

There is a noticeable slowdown in pace in this movie, compared with the fast moving actions we are used to. The suspense was never built up with any real intensity due to the obvious threats to the ghost writer’s life, revealed at the very beginning.

This movie, however, succeeds in keeping a secret towards the end. It stands out on style, with subtle subplots and befitting look, feel, and locale. The dialogues-driven film centers around clashes of life stories by people, now living in a mansion on an isolated island: The “cattiness” between Amelia (by Kim Cattrall), a sensuous woman sacrificing for her love, and Ruth (by Olivia Williams), a disillusioned ex-prime minister’s wife, suffering from the burden of the truth; the probe by a funny and apolitical writer (by Ewan McGregor); and the struggle of a beleaguered career politician (Pierce Brosnan) to conclude his pubic life with grace.

In addition to the film-noirish image and colors, which are executed with excellent technical quality, and effective surrounds, the mesmerizing music score is satisfying and is worth noting for its role in building an unsettling, mysterious atmosphere. There is very resonant LFE support to male voices throughout the Blu-ray version of the movie. The lonely mansion, a luxuriously contemporary masterpiece drenched in earthy tones with occasional rustic twists, serves as the perfect backdrop and adds tremendously to the movie’s aesthetic appeal. The twists in the ending scenes, esp. the event that you can only hear but not see, complete a tastefully crafted, stylish mystery. While this is unlikely to be something to be seen repeatedly, it is a worthwhile experience for those of us who are patient and still appreciate a movie that makes us to think.
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