Polanski's Ghost Writer - a film review by Gilad Atzmon
It is somewhat puzzling that director Roman Polanski, who has managed to evade justice for more than three decades, decided to make a film chronicling a disgraced British PM in his attempt to escape the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
Polanski's latest movie is based on Robert Harris’ bestseller (The Ghost). It tells the story of a ‘fictional’ ex British PM Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) who though once hugely popular, is now totally despised. Lang is in exile in the USA with his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams). He fears extradition to The Hague Tribunal.
The main protagonist, who leads the film from beginning to end, is a ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor). He is hired by a publisher to write Lang’s biography following the mysterious death of Lang’s previous ghostwriter. The new recruit soon discovers that something with the Langs is not exactly kosher. The Langs, it turns out, were working for the CIA.
The resemblance between Adam Lang and Tony Blair is more than obvious. Adam Lang is a handsome dark-haired guy, he is athletic, he is charming, he is slick, he is a war criminal but he is also vulnerable, he flips easily. The film tackles the most devastating chapter in recent history, the transformation of Anglo American liberal democracy into a lethal killing machine, fueled by pathos and righteousness, a chapter British society is not yet mature enough to deal with. Once again, it is artistic, creative minds such as Harris and Polanski who are engaged with questions the Chilcot Inquiry would never dwell upon.
So far, any conventional attempt to outline a rational or logical narrative that would explain the logos behind Tony Blair’s conduct from 2002 onwards, has failed miserably. Blair launched an illegal war based on a fabricated dossier. He took the country into conflict in spite of some serious opposition from within the military, the intelligence, the cabinet, the Labour party, the media and the general public. During this process Blair mounted some severe pressure on intelligence officers and legal experts to approve his lethal agenda. Blair was also clinging to Zionist fund-raisers and supporters within the media. It is far from clear why he did it.
The Blairites offer two explanations that are supposed to suggest a rational motivation behind Blair’s wars. One presents Blair as a devout Christian. However, murdering 1.5 Iraqis in the name of God was not going to work in the 21st century. Besides, a nation that voted Labour was not necessarily going to be happy to find out that it ended up with a messianic Crusader. The other Blairite explanation refers to ‘moral interventionalism’. This particular ‘spin’ is largely promoted by Zionists and Neocons within the British media and academia. Yet, launching a Zionist war and committing genocide in the name of ‘morality’ is an even more embarrassing excuse than using God. Seemingly, there is no patriotic narrative that would justify Blair’s policies and crimes. Clearly the lack of any sincere political reasoning led to the invention of Adam Lang, a fictional American CIA pawn planted at the heart of British politics.
As much as Lang resembles Blair, one may still notice that Adam Lang lacks some key figures that were associated with the Blair leadership. Adam Lang operates without a Lord Cash Machine or a “Friend of Israel” backer who sorts things out. He also suffers from the absence of a submissive legal expert, someone who may remind us of Lord Green Light. Nor is there a mention of the Wolfowitzes or Perles. Interestingly enough, not a single word about the Zionist Neocon enthusiasts within the British Media is registered in the film. I guess there is a limit to what we can expect from Polanski, a film genius who brought The Pianist to life.
In Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, it is not the Zionists who run the show and drag us into one war after another, it is actually the CIA and Adam’s wife Ruth who set us all up. In Polanski’s cinematic universe Adam Lang is merely a puppet, a charming yet naïve actor from Cambridge University who was recruited by a foreign intelligence agency. Lang himself may fail to understand what he was all about. He is innocent he may even be a victim. In Polanski’s film Adam Lang is almost a tragic figure, a pathetic narcissist exploited by evil forces. This interpretation may help us to understand why Polanski who is currently fighting an extradition order to the United States for a sex assault committed many years ago, chose to make a film about a war criminal ex-world leader on the run. The true story, Polanski may want us to believe, is slightly more complicated than it seems.
This presentation of Adam Lang as a victim is obviously there to break the resemblance with Tony Blair. It leaves Adam Lang, the tragic figure, in safe fictional territory but it leaves us also with an incomplete task. Whether Blair was a CIA agent, subject to blackmail, a devout Christian or a moral interventionalist we still have to make sure that he is delivered in one piece to the Hague to face justice. We owe this to the millions who lost their life in the name of his phony ideology.