Contender: ‘Ghost Writer’

Polanski pic plunges filmgoers into paranoid realm

Read the Variety review

In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The Ghost Writer,” a thinking man’s thriller that leads the European Film Awards race with seven nominations. The indie hit bowed in Berlin and went on to make some $15 million at the U.S. box office for Summit and another $44 million overseas.

Richard Harris’ economical adaptation (written with Polanksi) of his novel “The Ghost” immediately plunges filmgoers into a paranoid — but not too paranoid — realm of ex-world leaders that Polanski’s subtle camera exploits till audiences are as terrified as Ewan McGregor’s title character. The production design underscores the coldness and inhumanity of a world in which spies perform their manipulations.

Polanski, who completed the film while stuck in Switzerland, also draws a complex performance from Pierce Brosnan as the former U.K. PM, while McGregor nails the world-weary writer who uncovers the truth. But it’s Olivia Williams who’s most likely to draw acting mentions for her seductive Lady Macbeth turn as the politician’s ruthless wife.

More Film

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at the first

    Harvey Weinstein Formally Arrested in New York, Faces Charges of Rape and Sex Abuse

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

  • James Bond Skyfall

    Universal Wins International Rights to James Bond 25

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

  • In 'That Summer,' the Stars of

    In 'That Summer,' the Stars of 'Grey Gardens' Look More Unhinged Than Ever

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

  • Alice Eve's Comedy 'Bees Make Honey'

    Film News Roundup: Alice Eve's Comedy 'Bees Make Honey' Set for July Release

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

  • China Appoints Wang Xiaohui as Film

    China Appoints Wang Xiaohui as Film Bureau Chief

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

  • Morgan Freeman Sexual Harassment

    Morgan Freeman Pulled From Visa Marketing After Harassment Allegations

    Read the Variety review In the 30 years since “Tess,” nobody thought Roman Polanski had a chance at being in the Oscar race, and then he made a movie called “The Pianist” that came darn close to sweeping the Oscars. Now, the controversial director has come up with a critically respected commercial hit in “The […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content