Based on a terrific book by Richard Harris, The Ghost Writer is an exercise in European thriller plotting and cinematography, even though most of it takes place on Cape Cod here in the United States. Directed by the great – and troubling – Roman Polanski, it has a pace that turned off many filmgoers, unfolding slowly and occasionally with the feel of a stage play, but I really liked it quite a bit.
Hitchcock was a master at taking a common scene and making it appear ominous, giving us reason to pause and reflect on how much we assume that a particular setting or place is safe without any real basis. Think of Mt. Rushmore in the brilliant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Polanski#Sexual_assault_case” target=”_blankNorth by Northwest, or even the lovely seaside village of Bodega Bay, transformed from an idyllic spot into a nightmare in The Birds. In a similar manner, the sailboats and nautical setting of Cape Cod transforms from warm and inviting into a dark, sinister winter spot with Polanski at the helm and cinematographer Pawel Edelman.