A clever, well written political thriller with Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor as the two male leads and the fabulous Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall supporting. Ewan's character is enlisted to be a ghost writer for Brosnan's ex-Prime Minister and his soon to be released memoirs after his previous ghost-writer mysteriously commits suicide. Clever plot + and great cast = success... right? Wrong.
Annoyingly, the powers that be decided that Ewan should have a cockney-esque London accent and Pierce Brosnan, the well spoken Brit, apparently needed to sound more upper class so was given a weird twang that wasn't quite the Queen but seemed to try. To rub salt into the wound, they then decided to make Kim Cattrall British. Oh dear.
I can appreciate that you can be so set on having a particular actor in a role that you disregard the fact that they are a different nationality to the one in the script. And normally, this is not an issue. Ewan was tolerable as Obi-Wan and even kind of cute in I Love you Philip Morris. And there are actors who can do very good accents and it works brilliantly. Brosnan himself did a fab American accent (Americans may disagree) in Remember Me, as did Robert Pattinson in the same film. In fact, the films main cast were British and Australian but they all did fantastic American accents and it wasn't remotely distracting.
In this film, however, it was all I could focus on for the first half hour! I spent the first ten minutes trying to figure out where Ewan's character was meant to be from. My issue is that I don't understand why they bothered? It's not based on a true story (well not officially anyway!) and he needed to be British not a Londoner. So what is wrong with his natural (and very sexy) Scottish accent? And why change Brosnan's accent when he is so suave and typically British that he managed to play a very convincing Bond in his 50s?! Why change so many things that are wholly unnecessary when all it does is distract from the plot?
That being said, once you get past this point you start to appreciate the subtle brilliance of this film. The plot is actually very good and offers everything you might want from a political thriller - intrigue, backstabbing, volatile and sneaky personalities, car chases and the long-suffering but totally loyal assistant to the man in charge. It keeps you guessing right up to the very end and is compelling as Ewan takes the viewer along his road of discovery.
Olivia Williams remains, in my humble opinion, one of Britain's most understated and brilliant actresses in a manipulative and unhinged role which should have been nominated for an Oscar, had the film done better on general release.
Certainly worth a watch - but perhaps wait for TV.