- Composed by Alexandre Desplat
- Varese Sarabande 302 067 007 2 / 2010 / 42:12
It was during post-production of this film that Roman Polanski was famously arrested in Switzerland – at one point, he was editing the film in prison, according to its writer Robert Harris! The Ghost Writer is based on Harris’s novel The Ghost, essentially a tale about the corruption which ran through the heart of the murky time in office of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The novel is explosive, the film reportedly captures it very well (though quite how this rather parochial tale will translate outside of my homeland, I’m not sure).
Of course, Polanski’s films have had some great scores in the past (Chinatown, Tess etc) and he adds another great film composer to his list of collaborators for this film, Alexandre Desplat. Working with Polanski is another notch on the composer’s bedpost (which is surely running out of room for notches, given the rate at which he’s been accumulating them); and his classy score is very impressive. Of course, he’s written music for several thrillers beforehand – this one is more along the lines of Hostage than the overt thrills of Largo Winch, say.
There’s a fine, hypnotic main theme which is vintage Desplat, with its fluttering winds, electronic pulse and (sometimes) swirling strings. You wouldn’t confuse it with Bernard Herrmann, but Desplat achieves a similar effect to film music’s master of suspense, writing music which both draws the listener (and viewer) in at the same time as telling them “go away! – bad things will happen.” Such a skilful composer. The theme is used well throughout the score, forming the bedrock onto which several cues are built.
There’s solid action music here too, a strong sense of forward motion running through the album. Desplat’s orchestration team has expanded somewhat as he has become more famous and more prolific, but make no mistake – this is still 100% his vision. The level of precision in everything about his music is as remarkable now as it ever was. While The Ghost Writer may not be one of his very best, it’s still such an impressive, classy thriller score and it makes for a hugely entertaining album. ****