The Ghost Writer (2010)

“The Ghost Writer” (2010)

IMDb

tiny spaces

This film is such a clear vision of its maker, and such clearly recognizable in its form, and storytelling family, that it becomes an instant gem.

Polanski has always been a filmmaker of small spaces, of a certain induced claustrophobia. Induced but always controlled by the director, always carrying our breath in his hands. contrasts. open spaces versus tiny rooms. claustrophobia in both types of space. The beach we see from the window of the house as opposed to the disguised prison where Ewan’s character works (in an island!). This has always been this director’s dish. That’s why his first film was shot on a boat, where the spatial limitations of the boat contrasted the vastness of the sea. Considering those films where he displays this kind of opposition, this one would team up with Bitter Moon, Death and the Maiden, or Knife in the water. That’s its family. By the way, the house in this film is quite interesting as architecture for how it frames the landscape (again the open/close opposition) and, as usual with Polanski, that is very well used.

But truly, the power of Polanski’s films comes from his point of view. If the term didn’t have other meanings within cinema’s technical vocabulary, i would say that his camera is always subject. Every shot in any of his films seems to spring from a specific point of view, of someone who is neither in the film, nor among us, nor in between. It comes from the outside and above, it’s a kind of god that looks both to the world of the film as it looks at us, audience. In a Polanski film, the spectator is as unsafe and unprotected as any character in the film. That makes anything he does a natural born noir. Even when the story does not address directly the characteristics of noir, the film visually becomes noir, in Polanski’s eye.

In this case, the story does help that. It is an interesting narrative concerning a pawn, one huge manipulator, and the “detective” who will battle to uncover it all. *spoilers* Incidentally (or not) the casting is pretty apt here, since Mcgreggor is one of the most clever actors working today, so he understood his placement within the narrative (as he always does), and Brosnan is so full of himself that he is manipulated by a director as much as we come to find that his character is being manipulated in the movie. So what we have is a Mcguffin, dealing with some political corruption, that drives us to the ambiguity, which we share with Ewan (noir) and that allows us to trust no one. In the end we are given a rather predictable twist, but it’s all about how we are manipulated before that. The solution at the “beginnings” is a rather tawdry device, but still it is an apt ending, and after all, there are not many new ways to end such a story, is there? And Olivia Williams is an onscreen interesting woman, and makes the trick believable. Let’s hope Polanski, inside or outside his prison (like the house in this film) still manages to deliver us more of his precious in(out)sights.

This is the first film i saw which was released in 2010. What a great way to start a decade in films!

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb

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