“The Ghost Writer” (2010). Cast: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, James Belushi, Tim Preece, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson, Jon Bernthal, Eli Wallach, Robert Pugh, David Rintoul, Soogi Kang, Lee Hong Thay. Director: Roman Polanski. Screenplay: Robert Harris and Roman Polanski. Book: Robert Harris. www.theghostwriter-movie.com/.
We’ve all undoubtedly experienced situations in which we’ve had a powerful intuitive flash come our way that we’ve acknowledged and then promptly ignored, only to have it come back later to bite us you know where. That may be a little inconvenient or bothersome when the stakes are low, but when they’re high, it can mean the difference between life and death, as illustrated in the new Roman Polanski thriller, “The Ghost Writer.”
As high-powered book publisher John Maddox (James Belushi) prepares to release the political memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), he foresees a hot seller for his company. There’s just one problem, however: The manuscript sucks. What’s more, one of Lang’s longtime political aides, who had been entrusted with tweaking the text into readable form, has been found dead under mysterious circumstances. So, to bring the book up to industry standards, Maddox hires a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) to apply the proper spit and polish. The hired gun has his reservations, mainly because political biographies are not his specialty and because the unusually tight deadline will make completing the job on time difficult. But with the lure of a huge payday awaiting him for one month’s effort, he ignores his gut and follows the advice of his agent (Jon Bernthal), who assures him that this is a good career move. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
To carry out his mission, our hero leaves his London home and travels to the remote New England island of Martha’s Vineyard, where Lang is residing between engagements while on a U.S. speaking tour. The idyllic maritime setting proves to be anything but, however; security is so tight, in fact, that it makes Ft. Knox look like easy pickings by comparison. What’s more, our hero is seriously muzzled in terms of how he can go about his work. He can’t help but wonder why such extreme precautions are necessary for the simple rewriting of a manuscript, but as he becomes further involved in the process, he begins to see that there is much more going on than he ever imagined. He quickly finds himself embroiled in a web of intrigue centering on war crimes allegations against Lang, accusations that ultimately involve a lucrative defense contractor, a former British defense minister (Robert Pugh), a mysterious university professor (Tom Wilkinson), the father of a decreased soldier (David Rintoul) and even the former PM’s wife (Olivia Williams). By now, it would seem that going with one’s gut would have been far more prudent after all.
So if listening to our intuition is so important, why don’t we do it more often? Most likely it’s because its messages don’t seem logical. They often run counter to what we would think of as rational or practical. And because we tend to be so caught up in our intellect and the messages it provides, we consequently tend to summarily dismiss the insights our intuition affords us. That’s a mistake; after all, if our intuition weren’t meant to serve some kind of purpose, then why would we have it in the first place? It’s an essential element in helping us shape our beliefs, the very same ones that we use in the conscious creation/law of attraction process to create the world around us. But by ignoring our intuition, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the perils of un-conscious creation, or creation by default, where we allow things to happen to us in seemingly random ways, often much to our shock or disappointment. Getting a proper handle on our gut is thus not only important for us to become better conscious creators; it’s also sometimes essential to our very survival, as this film’s protagonist clearly discovers for himself.
Going with one’s gut is also important when it comes to following one’s own sense of personal integrity and being truthful to one’s own calling in life. This is apparent on a number of occasions in the film when our hero waxes philosophically and muses about the virtues of being “a real writer” rather than a hired gun cleanup man. It makes one think about the impact that comes from always lurking in the shadows of one’s true destiny—like a ghost—rather than stepping out fully formed into the brilliance of one’s own light of day. By failing to follow our intuition, we hold ourselves back, never fully becoming who we can truly be, a circumstance that can pervade all aspects of our character—or even our very being. (And, if you doubt that, to illustrate this point, let’s see if you can identify the ghost by name by the end of the picture.)
“The Ghost Writer” is an excellent thriller from start to finish, tautly written and directed. The storytelling style is reminiscent of Polanski’s 1974 classic “Chinatown,” in that the director reveals clues to solving the mystery slowly, piece by piece, tantalizing viewers with just enough information to intrigue them but without giving away the gist of the story until the very end. The film also features an array of fine performances, particularly by Brosnan, who has turned in some of his best on-screen work here, and Williams, whose cold, calculating character is more chilling than any of us ever realizes.
Following one’s intuition is good advice for anyone under even the most mundane of circumstances, but it becomes positively essential when life’s biggest issues are involved. “The Ghost Writer” provides an excellent cautionary tale in that regard for those seeking to avoid the problems of conscious creation gone awry.
Remember, you’ve been warned…
Copyright © 2010, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.
A lifelong movie fan and longtime student of metaphysics (with an emphasis in law of attraction/conscious creation principles), free-lance writer/editor Brent Marchant is the author of Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (Moment Point Press, www.momentpoint.com, available in soft cover and Kindle formats). His additional writing credits include contributions to www.beliefnet.com and to Divine Revolution, Sethnet Journal and Reality Change magazines. Brent also maintains an ongoing blog about metaphysical cinema at www.getthepicturebrentmarchant.blogspot.com, which includes listings for the internet and broadcast radio shows on which he frequently appears as a guest. He holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and resides in Chicago. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.