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The Ghost Writer (2010)

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A ghost writer, hired to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister, uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Robert Harris (screenplay), Roman Polanski (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,361 ( 8)
33 wins & 54 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... The Ghost
Jon Bernthal ... Rick Ricardelli
Tim Preece Tim Preece ... Roy
Jim Belushi ... John Maddox (as James Belushi)
Timothy Hutton ... Sidney Kroll
Anna Botting Anna Botting ... SKY TV Newsreader
Yvonne Tomlinson Yvonne Tomlinson ... Stewardess
Milton Welsh ... Taxi Driver
Alister Mazzotti Alister Mazzotti ... Protection Officer #1
Tim Faraday ... Barry
Kim Cattrall ... Amelia Bly
Kate Copeland Kate Copeland ... Alice
Soogi Kang Soogi Kang ... Dep
Lee Hong Thay Lee Hong Thay ... Duc
Olivia Williams ... Ruth Lang
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Storyline

An unremarkable ghost-writer has landed a lucrative contract to redact the memoirs of Adam Lang, the former UK Prime Minister. After dominating British politics for years, Lang has retired with his wife to the USA. He lives on an island, in luxurious, isolated premises complete with a security detail and a secretarial staff. Soon, Adam Lang gets embroiled in a major scandal with international ramifications that reveals how far he was ready to go in order to nurture UK's "special relationship" with the USA. But before this controversy has started, before even he has closed the deal with the publisher, the ghost-writer gets unmistakable signs that the turgid draft he is tasked to put into shape inexplicably constitutes highly sensitive material. Written by Eduardo Casais <casaise@acm.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Read between the lies.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

France | Germany | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ghost Writer See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$183,009, 21 February 2010

Gross USA:

$15,541,549

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,222,298
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Robert Harris is a former BBC television reporter and political columnist, who actively supported Tony Blair, until the Iraq War, which Harris felt was a mistake. Blair resigned June 26, 2007, spurring Harris to drop his other work to write "The Ghost", the novel, on which this movie is based, which was published September 26. Similarities between Blair and Adam Lang, Cherie Blair and Ruth Lang, Hatherton and Halliburton, et cetera, are clearly intentional. Mo Asumang appears briefly as a Condoleezza Rice look-a-like Secretary of State, in a photo op with Lang. See more »

Goofs

A round-trip ferry ticket for a car to Martha's Vineyard is $135, well over the $40 paid by the ghost. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The Ghost: You realize I know nothing about politics.
Rick Ricardelli: You voted for him, didn't you?
The Ghost: Adam Lang? Of course I did, everyone voted for him. He wasn't a politician, he was a craze.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are written as black-on-white with a typewriter font, like the manuscript shown throughout the movie. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released on Blu-ray in Norway has some curse words dubbed over. At the motel reception you can clearly see McGregor mouthing something else than "shit". See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Favorite Films Based on Books (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Hatherton
Performed by David Majzlin
Courtesy of Toy Hanner Music (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Recapturing Hitch
10 March 2010 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

From Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby to Chinatown, Roman Polanski has shown a skill at the slowly distributed thriller, and especially with a dash of hard-core politics as in Chinatown's Los Angeles water intrigues. Now in The Ghost Writer, the acclaimed director recaptures that Hitchcock sense of inevitable evil slowly stalking the rich and famous while the little guy protagonist witnesses the underbelly of power.

Ex-Prime Minister Andrew Lang (Pierce Brosnan) hires a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) to finish an autobiography by the previous ghost writer, who mysteriously drowned. As unnamed ghost begins his work in a Martha's Vineyard hideaway of Lang, mayhem breaks out, for Lang is accused of sanctioning water boarding in the Iraq theater.

While it is apparent Lang's personal life is deteriorating as well, the ghost pursues with the tenacity of Jake Gittes the mystery of how his predecessor died, gaining a few bruised bones but not a broken nose for being nosy.

While the film has some clichéd situations, almost as if Polanski is trying to evoke '70's thrillers in all their cheesiness, he has recruited an excellent cast. In addition to McGregor and Brosnan at their best, Tom Wilkinson as a suspicious Ivy League academic and a cameo by Eli Wallach as an old Vineyard denizen are so good that I wanted more of them. Polanski has always directed his actors well, but of course he is smart enough to hire them in the first place.

The stark; outdoor settings; the almost antiseptic interiors; the slowly suspenseful music; the car chases; the shower; and the suspicious ladies,especially the blond), are a few of the Hitchcock touches gracing the Ghost Writer. That Lang is unable to reside in only few countries of the world where he can't be extradited for crimes against humanity is a light reference to Polanski's own exile. For that allusion, I applaud him and wonder how he can keep a sense of humor amidst his possible imprisonment on charges of statutory rape.

However, he is after all a certifiable auteur whose legacy will outlive any prison time.


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