Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Torn and confused

I just watched "The Ghost Writer", which was directed by Roman Polanski and stars Ewan McGregor...and I am just plain stunned. It was boring, which is the one thing I was not expecting. The story was trite in that 70s paranoia kind of way, the characters did stupid things and trusted people they'd just met despite suspecting deviousness on the part of others they've just met and trusted. Plot points were telegraphed so bluntly, it's like you were being told the story in advance. And what's most unforgivable? Ewan McGregor was bland.

I did not think that was possible. I've seen him play all sorts of characters -- from Victorian lads to modern day cads to a gay man who could fall in love with Ace Ventura, of all people -- and not once did I not believe him and follow him happily. Even as he's servicing Jim Carrey and getting nothing in return (hardly what I'd call a functional relationship in either the gay or straight world). He's a dynamic actor, but he was nearly dead in this thing. This has rocked my world.

What's worse is, Roman Polanski has made some phenomenal films -- "Chinatown", "Rosemary's Baby", "Knife in the Water", "Tess", "The Piano Player" to name a few -- but this will not be anywhere near the top of his list. It held none of the menace he can find in everyday objects or places, and seriously -- some of the actions of the bad guys were just plain dumb. It's a sad commentary on his current work.

I guess I should cut the guy a break; he has been making movies for 50 years and there's sure to be an occasional misfire. Even Hitchcock turned out some duds, as did Howard Hawks, John Ford and Orson Wells. It's just, I had great expectations from the guy who directed "The Tenant" and I'm sad to see them let down. Plus I'd like to know how the hell he bottled up Ewan's natural charisma?

That last question is one for the ages.

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