Derek Elley‘s Variety review of The Ghost Writer “is nonsense…it’s Roman Polanski‘s best in years,” says an HE reader who’s also seen it. I’m also struck by an observation from Screen Daily‘s Fionnuala Halligan that the film “bears all the hallmarks of Polanski’s distinctive style” while Elley said that Polanski “brings not a jot of his own directorial personality or quirks” to the film. Disparate much?

(l. to r.) Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Pierce Brosnan in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer.

Here’s a rave by the Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw. He calls it “a gripping conspiracy thriller and scabrous political satire, a Manchurian Candidate for the 2010s, as addictive and outrageous as the Robert Harris bestseller on which it’s based…Polanski keeps the narrative engine ticking over with a downbeat but compelling throb…this is his most purely enjoyable picture for years, a Hitchcockian nightmare with a persistent, stomach-turning sense of disquiet, brought off with confidence and dash.”

There also seems to be an undercurrent of approval in this analysis of the paranoid current in Polanski’s films by N.Y. Times contributor Dennis Lim.

At the very least I’m intrigued and encouraged. I’m also beginning to wonder if Elley’s review is another Hurt Locker-ish dismissal — a case of Elley once again being the odd man out?