Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Ghost of Tony Blair

This weekend, I went to see Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost' and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Roman Polanski's very public legal troubles have almost overshadowed this fascinating thriller but I believe that it will stand as one of the most enthralling movies of 2010. Adapted for the screen by Polanski and Robert Harris, from the latter's own novel, the movie is about a ghost writer working on the autobiography of a once-popular former British Prime Minister named Adam Lang who now faces calls for indictment for his involvement in a very unpopular war. Sounds familiar? All similarities to Tony Blair are entirely intentional.
Pierce Brosnan is a formidable presence as our beleaguered former Head of State while Ewan McGregor is fantastically droll (there were certain moments when he reminded me of a younger, more handsome Ricky Gervais - no offense, Ricky) as the unknown ghost writer. I must also mention what a joy it was to see Kim Catttrall so engaging in a role other than Samantha Jones and to see Olivia Williams run away with the entire film for her portrayal of the fiercely intelligent and questionable wife of the former PM (a wonderful contrast to her lovely performance as a kind-hearted schoolteacher in the recent Best Picture Oscar nominee 'An Education').

While subtlety is the key to the success of the thriller element of the movie, it is the transparent allusions to Halliburton, Condoleeza Rice, Robin Cook and the Blairs themselves that make this film such a timely and entertaining political satire. Polanski has already won the Best Director award at this year's Berlin Film Festival. I sincerely hope that this film will be remembered come next year's movie awards season.

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