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TV & Video Review: ‘The Ghost Writer’

When a successful British ghostwriter, The Ghost (Ewan McGregor), agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start – not the least because his predecessor on the project, Lang’s long-term aide, died in a suspicious accident. But the day after The Ghost arrives to work on the project, 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 (Olivia Williams), and his personal assistant/mistress, Amelia (Kim Cattrall). 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.

The tale is a well-spun mystery with hints of reality mixed in throughout. As the ghostwriter gets closer to the truth, the story intensifies; who he can trust is constantly in question as is his safety. The conspiracy proposed is an interesting one, though its actuality would be very worrisome. The acting is stellar as each person plays his or her role perfectly. However, although Cattrall is Canadian and therefore a citizen of the Commonwealth, her British accent was simply not plausible.

Special features include: “The Ghost Writer: Fiction or Reality,” in which writer Robert Harris discusses the similarities between Lang and real former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; “The Cast of the Ghost Writer”; and “An Interview with [director] Roman Polanski.” (Entertainment One)

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