The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer

(Cinema City)


This film is like a cool breeze on a hot summer day, or a breath of fresh air. It is everything I wanted the great “Shutter Island” to be. It is exactly the kind of film that I feared may no longer even exist. It is a mystery. A true moody mystery. And it is proud of this. It is not more than that. But it doesn’t need to be. Because the mystery genre isn’t slumming. No need for doctors or psychology. Roman Polanski, when not running from the law for messing around with little ‘uns, has once again shown us what a master of film he is.

What can I say? I don’t want to say much. Let’s leave the plot alone. The plot! Oh, boy, exciting. I must, however, take the time to apologize here to “Shutter Island” lovers. This is where my preference and love of true mystery may shine too bright for some. I’m sorry. There, I said it. Now, let’s move on.

No, wait. That’s not entirely fair. I don’t think I was too hard on Marty’s movie, but I will admit, I took it to task. And this film too, I can take to task for an unnecessary ending just to build the tension to the utmost, and to provide closure. So what do I say? All is forgiven. Why? Just look at how the end of the film is shot. Marvel at the last shot. Marvel at how it is handled. Now think of it in terms of subtext and symbolism. Maybe that’s what this coda or epilogue represents.

And the mood and technique are what bring this film from good to great. Polanski soaks us into the mood. We are on rainy Martha’s Vineyard, and his camera exposes us enough to the cold and wet to let us appreciate a warm cup of joe and a blanket, which he also provides. This is the type of film you can watch simply to go somewhere else. This is the great mystery tradition, because atmosphere is so important, because it is so often a clue.

Now, depending on your viewpoint on having sex with kids, you can add or subtract points for how well this is done. Because this isn’t shot in Cape Cod (although some familiar images suggest a 2nd unit must have shot there) but rather Germany…because Polanski is on the lamb and can’t enter the U.S. or he will be arrested.

Now, you might think I am rambling. Or going from one point to the next. Or not honing in properly, like a proper essay should. But there is a reason for this. You see, I am not really writing this review. It is all in my head. In fact, maybe this film doesn’t exist. Wait, you don’t exist. Or maybe I don’t? Or maybe Bruce Willis is dead. Or maybe nobody really died or I am the killer? But who died? Well that’s a mystery.

(See, a real mystery is better).

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