The Interpreter (DVD, 2005, Widescreen)
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- mintex03Apr 17, 2012by
The INTERPRETER (DVD, 2005)
Action packed political thriller by Sidney Pollack in the style of "Three Days of the Condor". Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman) is an interpreter at the United Nations. She is a white African from the country of Matobo. Quite by accident while retrieving some personal property after hours, she overhears a whispered conversation in an African dialect discussing an upcoming assassination plot on the Matoban president during a speech that he is scheduled to deliver before the members of the U.N. in a matter of days. The Matoban president, Dr. Zuwanie (Earl Cameron) is just one more "Savoir/Peacekeeper Type" turned "Butcher/Dictator". He is under fire for "Ethnic Cleansing" and countless other atrocities. Silvia reports what she heard and the U.S. Secret Service is notified. Agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) is the lead and his initial assessment of Silvia is that she has too much background to totally trust. To Silvia, Dr. Zuwanie was once a hero, before her entire family died because of him. But, because it might be true, Keller has no choice but to plan for the worse.
The ensuing cat and mouse investigation brings Penn and Kidman into close circumstances where sexual tension builds, but nothing ever happens. The web of conspiracy includes workers from the Matoban delegation, political opponents of Dr. Zuwanie, his personal Chief of Security, Silvia, and Agent Keller. All factions are heading for a collision before all of the members of the U.N. The surprising conclusion will leave you speechless.Read full review
- tigerbaby007112Jun 12, 2013by
Escalating events begin when African-born U.N. translator Silvia Broome alleges that she has overheard a death threat against an African head of state, spoken in a rare dialect few people other than Silvia can understand. With the words "The Teacher will never leave this room alive," in an instant, Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a hunted target of the killers. This is an extremely fearful movie, with a mood, tone and cascade of plot twists. A solid entertainment.
- quidrockDec 22, 2005by
Rent or buy it used
I was riveted by the performances of Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter". As the film unfolds, both of their bleak outlooks on life - his worn on his sleeve, hers hidden beneath the steel resolve of a life that is acetic, on the surface - meet to dance a little with each other, and Pollack, wisely, does not pursue romance, just leaves the watcher believing that the two of them will remember each other for the rest of their lives.
Penn's character, Tobin Keller, is with the Secret Service. He has recently lost a wife, in more ways than one. Sylvia Broome (Kidman) has lost a brother. You see him die in the opening scenes, but don't know he's her brother until much later in the film. Both are reserved and steely in their resolve. Their mistrust and wonderment about each other is cloaked in elegance.
The setting is the United Nations, and Pollack filmed much of the movie there, a first. His cinematography (by Darius Khondji) makes you intimate with the UN, it is crisp and alive. Sylvia is an interpreter there, one of few who can speak Ku, the primary language of the African country, Matobo. (Matobo is fictional). Some of the political heat that Pollack has taken about the film is in the "fictionalization" of Matobo. In character and events, there is much that is reminiscent of real life African countries; Pollack has merely given us a hodge podge of likely events.
Broome's knowledge of the language allows her to overhear a threat against Matobo's dictator, who is to visit the UN. The threat is brought through channels, and the wheels of security begin to invade Sylvia's and the UN's existence. Assassination of Zuwanie (Earl Cameron) would be devastating for the world opinion of the UN, and cause even more instability in his little corner of the world.
In tense sequences, the drama plays out with the UN backdrop; the most exciting scenes taking place with a potential bomb on a bus - here Pollack shifts incessantly between the bus and the security forces who track and follow it from various venues in the city. There's also a remarkable scene for Penn when he finds, without really seeing, an assassin in Sylvia's apartment.
It becomes obvious that Sylvia is no innocent bystander, that she has an agenda, that unlikely as she seems, she is an activist; is she, in part responsible for the threat? Tobin Keller does not really know, he just begins to trust his instincts about her. As the film moves rapidly (it is a long film, but the time seems to go swiftly) to the end, the filmgoer realizes that he/she's been caught up in the performances strung together with some well-filmed action sequences, but that the message that Pollack was trying to convey got a little lost, and dragged its feet. As such, the time spent viewing it is well spent, but, as you reflect on the film, you're not certain it will have a lasting affect on you.
Some points that need to be brought up - Catherine Keener is a welcome presence as Tobin's partner. She's dynamite in what is little more than a cameo. And the DVD has some excellent extras, notably: A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters, and a feature on the use of the UN for filming, The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations (I was less enthusiastic about the features I normally like, an alternate ending, the deleted scenes...good thing they were deleted... and scenes of Sydney Pollack at work at the set).
See it, but rent or buy it used. Hotel Rwanda was much better.Read full review
- leggy-leleOct 10, 2005by
Must have for people that like intrigue!
After so much animation, reality, and lousy horror, this movie was refreshing to get. Don't miss a minute since very few actions or words that are done/spoken will come back later in the movie. I love the plot and even though I am not a huge Sean Penn fan his performance along with Nicole Kidman's are fantastic. Not a lot of blood and guts this movie is meant to challenge the mind. The DVD does offer deleted scenes, a short interview with Sydney Pollack, commentary while watching the movie that can be turned off, a look at the life of a real interpreter plus an alternate ending. I liked the alternate ending even better than the one that was shown in the movie. If you want intense, mind challenging and intriguing movie from beginning to end, this is the one for you.
- blackknight-358...Oct 03, 2008by
Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn are the leading characters in this movie. This is an action paced thriller.In one of the hidden corridors of power at the United Nations headquarters, translator(Kidman) overhears a potentally plot of an assination attempt. When federal agent(Penn) investigates her claim and digs deeper into her claim and digs deeper in her past, he begins to question whether she is a victim or a suspect.