Let The Ghost In The Exam

Like most fans of foreign films, I watch Hollywood remakes with one eye closed, in order to lessen my inevitable disappointment. I generally watch the US attempts though, as sometimes they get it right (The Office) and sometimes they don’t (the recent The Experiment starring Adrien Brody is overshadowed by the superior German original). Let Me In, based on the 2008 Swedish film and book Let The Right One In, is the best adaptation yet. The original blew me away with its low burn pace and atmosphere and the US version directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) largely keeps the same focus. However, the attacks by Abby and the torment of Owen’s bullies are much more visceral. The friendship between the vampire girl Abby and  Owen (played superbly by Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee respectably) is thankfully intact and keeping it set in the ’80s is also a wise move. It looks more like an arty indie film thanks to its great cinematography and is a great new entry for the resurrected Hammer film studios.

Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer stars Pierce Brosnan as a former Brit Prime Minister and Ewan McGregor as the new ghost writer hired to write his memoirs. Amid accusations of Brosnan’s Adam Lang sanctioning the torture of suspected terrorists, plus the mysterious death of his previous ghost writer all add up to a great drama, and that’s what it is, with touches of a thriller film. There’s no action set pieces and even the car chase is methodical, but it all works well, though the ending is a downer. If you like Alfred Hitchcock’s films, check this one out.

Based on Robert Harris’ novel, it also stars a bald James Belushi, and Kim Cattrall with a convincing English accent, this is a well rounded film with great performances.

Exam is one of those films like Cube, in which a few people go into one place and not all of them come out. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine, and written by him and Simon Garrity it features a few recognisable British actors and is all set in one room. It’s one of those films that is sold on its intriguing central concept and great performances alone. It’d also make a great play.

Basically, 8 people (4 men and 4 women) all enter a sparse room for a job application and told that only one of them will get the dream job. They are given a few basic instructions and then must spend the next 80 minutes looking at the bare paper before them to figure out the one answer. However, the question is just as mysterious. With great dialogue and excitement that is bigger than the only room, it’s rather mesmerising.

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