Let's cut to the chase: the ex-PM Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) depicted here is Tony Blair and "Hatherton" is defence contractor Halliburton. Indeed, this conspiracy thriller, an adaptation of bestselling novel The Ghost, is a thinly-veiled attack on Blair by The Observer's onetime political editor Robert Harris, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Roman Polanski. After his predecessor washes ashore, a never-named new ghostwriter (Ewan McGregor) arrives to tidy up Lang's memoirs at his gated island compound as the former PM is charged with war crimes. Surely Polanski, who completed post-production during house arrest in Switzerland, was playing with his own potential extradition/prosecution on a sex charge. Becoming increasingly suspicious, The Ghost naively - implausibly - forgets the importance of discretion in investigative journalism. Even with its over-explained plot, the film builds a dark, foreboding atmosphere lightened only by witty repartee. Style over substance notwithstanding, this Hitchcockian visual stunner is already generating Oscar buzz.
Running time: 129 minutes