Complete A-Z list

Ghost, The


Stars: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, John Bernthal, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi, Robert Pugh, David Rintoul

Director: Roman Polanski

Not a spooky story as such, but a labyrinthine thriller in which McGregor, as a freelance writer hired to 'ghost' the autobiography of Blair-like ex-PM Adam Lang (Brosnan), is slijghtly disconcerted to find that his predecessor in the same job has just been found washed up on the shore of the island off America where Lang and his wife (Williams), mistress/PA (Cattrall) and staff are currently holed up in a fortress-like hideaway.

By chance, McGregor comes across photographs from Lang's university days which seem to tie the ex-PM to the CIA. Another of the people in the snaps, Prof Emmett (Wilkinson), lives near the island. But, when McGregor goes to interview him, the prof is cagey to say the least, and McGregor is followed on to the ferry home, which he hastily vacates.

Though the film is well made, and polished in every department, its suspense is slightly undercut by one's awareness that all this cannot end well for the too-snoopy ghost. Brosnan is perhaps insufficiently devious as Lang but Williams does well until called on to perform a silly and extremely unlikely sex scene with McGregor. Not surprisingly, it's the only bit Polanski handles badly.

But nonagenarian Eli Wallach is brilliant in a one-scene cameo, and at least the film does provide ammunition for those who always though there was something sinister about the SatNav system.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Optimum. Duboicolor.
128 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 13 Apr 2010