Entries tagged with “Roman Polanski”.


‘Carnage’ is a disappointment. Having seen the play staged in Bucharest last spring I knew what it was about, and I was expecting much more from a film directed by Roman Polanski and adapted to screen by the playwright  herself, Yasmina Reza, one of the most successful theater authors nowadays. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it is only the cast that did not disappoint, and as much as I love to watch all that Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet do, they do not succeed to break the barrier of the expected.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1692486/

 

I am not sure what or who is to blame. Maybe it starts with the script, which does little beyond transferring the story from France to Manhattan and does not add any element that can be turned into visual language. It goes on with the setting which is probably intentional banal, but seems to constrain permanently the moves of the actors and interfere with their expressions. It ends with the directing which lets the actors do their job (which is good) but adds little to the overall message of the film with the exception of the prologue and epilogue filmed outdoors. I felt no Polanski thrill in this film and I missed it.

 

(video source nogoodflix)

 

Does the message make it? Maybe having seen the play prepared me too much and I was a viewer hard to be impressed. The involution and graduate de-peeling of the layers of civility is there, but less poignant than I expected. The relationship between the bourgeois environment and the violence in the streets, between the violence of the relations between kids and the one experience by one of the characters in Africa are largely lost. Maybe Polanski’s ‘Carnage’ is an example of the differences  between what makes a successful play and a successful screen adaptation and a proof that too much good acting does not necessarily make good cinema.

 

Ghost writers, like the hero of the Polanski‘s film wonderfully acted by Ewan McGregor are people with no past, no family, no ambitions, and no identity – sometimes they even do not have a name, or if they have one nobody knows it. They often write the books signed by the important men and women of this world, they give shape to their ideas and memories, and sometimes they learn more about the powerful of the world then they should. This is when they can get into trouble or even in mortal danger. It’s easy, as they have no past, no family, no ambitions, no identity, and sometimes no name.

source - www.imdb.com

With these premises The Ghost Writer plays as a political thriller located in Hitchcock territory. Into some other director’s hands the story could have been easily over-politicized as the ex-British Prime Minister Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is a very transparent replica of Tony Blair, with a pitch of romance maybe as wife Ruth Lang is acted with such sensitivity and mystery by Olivia Williams that she could become the turning point of the drama. Polanski does however something more here beyond creating the most hitchcockian atmosphere in a movie since Hitchcock passed away – he inserts in the film his personal dramas and fears. The ex-Prime Minister is not only a vilified politician in danger to be indicted by the Hague Tribunal, he is also an exile who cannot return to his own country as Polanski is for many years (and no judgment is being made or excuse presented about him being guilty or not). The fascination of Polanski with water is also present, and we can follow and remember the evolution of the theme in the director’s imaginary, from the sunny reflections in Knife in the Water through the grotesque tones in Cul de Sac or Pirates until the dark tones here – water is always a threat, a menacing presence. The scenes on winterly Martha’s Vineyard island are nothing less than memorable, you can feel the wind and the loneliness crossing the screen.

(video source hollywoodstreams)

Not everything is perfect, and one can dispute whether the resolution of the plot is a little bit too smart, or whether the final scene is a little too cinematographically beautiful to be true. Maybe so – yet this is one of the best political thrillers I have seen, just because it never puts too much pressure neither on the political, not on the thriller aspects, but on human feelings and on the fragility of the character of the Ghost. Well acted and beautifully filmed, it shows the hand of a director at the pick of his creative maturity. Putting aside the controversy related to his personal life and situation, as a film fan I really hope that this is not his last movie.