March 14, 2010

The Ghost Writer (03/14/10)

Lettergrade: D-

It took me about an hour, but once I came to terms with the fact that there would not be a scene in The Ghost Writer where Ewan McGregor would burst into flames and then get on a motorcycle and drive around flighting crime, I was finally able to take a good, clear look at the movie itself. Funny thing is, if celebrated director and fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski had thrown something like that into this sucker, there might be something worth talking about here. He didn't, and what's left is a political thriller that has uninteresting politics and is not especially thrilling.

McGregor plays - wild guess - a ghost writer who takes a high-profile job helping former British Prime Minister Pierce Brosnan complete his memoirs just as all sorts of political shit starts to hit the fan in terms of war crime charges, etc. Sure, McGregor's predecessor died under mysterious, unlikely circumstances, but why should that give him any pause whatsoever when his boss, played by the slimly and bizarrely bald Jim Belushi, offers him the gig?

McGregor's research begins to uncover inconsistent info on Brosnan's activities early in his career, and knowing that might just get him killed! Frankly, though, during most of the movie, I was more on edge about whether the nearly incomprehensible plot would force me into a deep nap that would give me trouble falling asleep later that night, and thus screw up my sleep schedule for the rest of the week.

The film's considerable tedium is enhanced by Kim Cattrall, in rare role where she doesn't show her ta-tas, and a surprisingly shitty musical score by Alexandre Desplat that made me giggle on a couple occasions. Olivia Williams (as Brosnan's wife) is one of the few bright spots, but if you're really itching to see her in something, catch An Education instead.

Oh, and one more thing: the picture was clearly made with an R rating in mind, but later modified for the U.S. in order to secure a family friendly PG-13. Therefore, each and every f-bomb in the movie has become a poorly dubbed "freakin'" or "bugger." Apart from the shoddy craftsmanship, I'm pretty ambivalent about the changes, honestly, but I do question a ratings system which requires the modification of language in a picture that no self respecting kid would want to sit through in the first place.

All in all, there are worse ways to spend two hours these days, but certainly enough good alternatives that you have no excuse for flushing your precious time here.

A very early journal entry on the Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider from back when I started this blog in 2007.

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