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The Ghost Writer[1]

US film poster
Directed by Roman Polanski
Produced by Roman Polanski
Robert Benmussa
Alain Sarde
Patrick Wachsberger
Written by Screenplay:
Roman Polanski
Robert Harris
Robert Harris
Starring Ewan McGregor
Pierce Brosnan
Olivia Williams
Kim Cattrall
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Paweł Edelman
Editing by Hervé de Luze
Distributed by Summit Entertainment (North America)[1]
Release date(s) February 11, 2010 (2010-02-11) (BIFF)
February 18, 2010 (2010-02-18) (Germany)
February 18, 2010 (2010-02-18) (Poland)
February 19, 2010 (2010-02-19) (United States)
March 3, 2010 (2010-03-03) (France)
April 16, 2010 (2010-04-16) (UK)
Running time 128 minutes
Country France
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $45,000,000[2]
Gross revenue $7,739,308[2]

The Ghost Writer (aka The Ghost in the UK) is a film adaptation of the Robert Harris novel The Ghost. The film is directed by Roman Polanski and based on a screenplay written by Harris and Polanski.[3] It stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.



The plot of the film is based on the novel.[4] The final scenes deviate in a mystery, though.

When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it's the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start—not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang's long-term aide, died in an accident. The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA—a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant (and mistress), Amelia. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA—and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind.



Polanski had originally teamed with Robert Harris for a film of Harris's novel Pompeii. The film, to be produced by Summit Entertainment, was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 as potentially the most expensive European film ever made, but was cancelled as a result of the looming actor's strike that fall.

Polanski and Harris then turned to Harris's current bestseller, The Ghost. They co-wrote a script and Polanski announced filming for early 2008, with Nicolas Cage, Pierce Brosnan, Tilda Swinton, and Kim Cattrall starring. The film was then postponed by a year, with Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams replacing Cage and Swinton.

The film began production in February 2009 in Germany, at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam. Germany stood in for London and Martha's Vineyard due to Polanski's inability to legally travel to those places. The majority of exteriors, set on Martha's Vineyard, were shot on the island of Sylt in the North Sea, and on the ferry "MF SyltExpress". The exterior set of the house where much of the film takes place, however, was built on the island of Usedom, in the Baltic Sea. Exteriors set at a publishing house in London were shot in downtown Berlin, while Strausberg Airport near Berlin stood in for the Martha's Vineyard airport.

On his way to the Zurich Film Festival, Polanski was arrested by Swiss police in September 2009. Due to Polanski's arrest, post-production was briefly put on hold, but he resumed and completed work from house arrest at his Swiss villa. Also, he could not take part in his film's world premiere at the Berlinale festival on February 12, 2010.


The film premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival on February 12, 2010.[6]

Critical reception

The film has received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 81% of critics gave positive reviews based on a sample of 70 reviews with an average rating of 7.3/10.[7] Rotten Tomatoes's Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, gave the film an overall approval rating of 75% based on 24 reviews. [8] Its consensus notes that "While it may lack the revelatory punch of Polanski's finest films, Ghost Writer benefits from stylish direction, a tense screenplay, and a strong central performance from Ewan McGregor." [7] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from 0-100 top reviews from mainstream critics, gave the film an average rating of 78% based on 28 reviews.[9]. Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and declared: "This movie is the work of a man who knows how to direct a thriller."[10] Writing for LAS Magazine, Theon Weber gave the film a 6.8/10 rating and called it " thriller with topical ambitions: it takes place in a jittery, bomb-fearing Britain and America, often in airports or official buildings, where the weary rituals of security screenings refuse to let the characters or the audience relax."[11]


60th Berlin International Film Festival

Result Award Winner/Nominee Recipient(s)
Silver Bear Best Director Roman Polanski


  2. ^ a b "The Ghost Writer (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-2-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Gregg Kilday (2009-01-21). "Roman Polanski's 'Ghost' adds two". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  4. ^ Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski starts principal photography on "The Ghost"
  5. ^ Borys Kit (2009-02-06). "Timothy Hutton haunts 'Ghost' pic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  6. ^ Berlin Film Festival Program
  7. ^ a b "Ghost Writer Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-2-21. 
  8. ^ "Ghost Writer (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-2-21. 
  9. ^ "Ghost Writer, The (2010): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2010-2-21. 
  10. ^ "The Ghost Writer Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-2-28. 
  11. ^ Weber, Theon (March 9, 2010). "XXX". LAS Magazine. 

External links

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