Review: The Ghostwriter
Who thought writing a biography could be so dangerous?
Starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan
Take a walk through the aisles of your local bookstore. When you get to the autobiography section, stop for a moment. There’s a lot of books there, right? Books written by rock stars, cricket players, movie stars, and politicians. People who have led amazing lives. Chances are the subject didn’t actually write the book, even though it has their name on the cover. Chances are a ghost writer did all the heavy lifting.
Now before you think I’m getting all spooky on you, I’m not talking about a literal ghost like Casper. I’m talking about an author who takes the words and the stories of the autobiography subject and makes them readable. And when they finish, they disappear into the background. They never get the credit. You never know who they are or how hard they worked to get the autobiography into your hands.
In Ghost Writer, Ewan McGregor’s character is hired to fix up the autobiography of the former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan). However, there’s a catch: McGregor is not the first man to take on the job. The previous ghost writer was found dead under suspicious circumstances. The former Prime Minster has secrets locked deep away and uncovering them may prove fatal.
Ghost Writer is a very tight thriller. The movie is set in a small island town in America during the off season. There is no one around, the place is almost deserted. This, combined with the muted grey colour palate of the film, creates an atmosphere of isolation. As McGregor finds himself in a situation that is beginning to snowball out of control, he has nowhere to run. This is not a thriller where there is a chase scene every ten minutes, but you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat regardless. Pierce Brosnan’s Prime Minster was one of the most powerful men on the planet. When it is revealed that he may be connected to the CIA, these secrets may be worth killing for.
The idea of a ghost writer is fascinating. Their job is to find out everything about you. To uncover all the details of your life and present them to the world. They ask the probing questions and dig deep into the archives to reveal your secrets. I never want someone to write my biography. Imagine having your life open to that kind of scrutiny. Someone opening up your book and uncovering everything you’ve done. Not just the good things but the bad things too. The things you don’t want anyone to know about. I know that if someone was to see all those things I have done and those things that I have though, that I would be deeply ashamed.
God is the ultimate ghost writer. He knows every detail of our lives. He knows our every action. He knows our every thought and motivation. He sees all the ugliness in our lives. None of us comes off looking good. It would be ridiculous to think that God would look at us and think we’re good enough to be part of his kingdom. Nothing is hidden from him. It’s only through God’s grace in sending Jesus that we are able to stand before God. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
Ghost Writer is an intelligent thriller that doesn’t feel the need to spoon feed the audience. The MA rating is there for swearing and some brief nudity/suggested sex. I was honestly surprised that this movie gained more than an M. Maybe not the kind of movie you’d rush out to see at the cinema, but well worth a look on DVD.