Friday, March 05, 2010


Ghost Writer: glimpses of waterboarding

The glimpses of televised waterboarding will provoke gasps among the audience. But those who have no interest in the torture of hapless foreigners can forget international affairs and simply revel in the director’s dark enchantments. Mr Polanski has made a perfect film of Mr Harris’s intricate page-turner—one that will outlast his own present difficulties, and Mr Blair’s as well.


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Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Ghost Writer: a fine piece of mischief

“The Ghost Writer” plays off the British public’s disillusion with Tony Blair and the recurring complaints about Blair’s alleged collaboration with the C.I.A. Yet, when Lang is cornered by the Ghost, the P.M. speaks with impressive conviction. In effect, he defends the use of torture; he takes the Cheneyesque hard line, ridiculing liberals who want safety and, at the same time, the luxury of high-mindedness. The answer to the question of why he’s so acquiescent to the Americans is worked out in thriller (rather than policy) terms. It’s the kind of supposition that may strike viewers, here and in Britain, as frivolous, or just plain wrong, but it’s a fine piece of mischief—suggestive, wounding to Blair, and, as a fiction, emotionally gratifying in the way of le Carré’s conspiracy plots.


a fine piece of mischief

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