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Director Sidney Pollack's diverse career sees him returning to familiar
ground with The Interpreter, Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn starring in a film
riddled with subterfuge, recriminations, and deadly secrets.
Kidman plays Silvia Broome, an interpreter who works at the UN in New York City. One night, while collecting a bag she has left behind in the building, Silvia overhears a whispered conversation in which an assassination attempt on redoubtable African leader Zuwanie (Earl Cameron), is planned during his future visit to the UN. Secret service agent Tobin Keller (Penn) is assigned to provide security for Zuwanie on the forthcoming trip, and conducts an investigation when Silvia explains what she has heard. He quickly discovers that Silvia has a lengthy, troubled past as a citizen from the same country as Zuwanie, and immediately begins to doubt her story...
This is the first film to be shot inside the United Nations Headquarters. Locations include the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as corridors and hallways of the complex. The cast and crew filmed on weekends in order not to disrupt the working week of the Organization.
The Interpreter Review
In the last eighteen months or so Sean Penn has been on dazzling form. He quite rightly bagged an Oscar for "Mystic River", earned rave reviews for "The Assassination Of Richard Nixon" and broke our hearts in "21 Grams". This latest film finds him opposite fellow Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman so surely the scene must be set for an acting master class of a movie, especially when you consider that it's all bought together under the imperious gaze of director Sydney Pollack? Hmmm…
Penn plays Tobin Keller, a grieving Secret Service Agent whose assigned to look into claims made by an interpreter (Kidman) that she overheard men plotting to assassinate a hated African President while he gives a speech in front of the UN General Assembly. But it turns out that this interpreter may have links to the men who are trying to remove the tyrant from office and soon Tobin is caught up in a deadly game of political cat and mouse.
Anyone who has ever watched a Sydney Pollack movie will know that he's not exactly the kind of guy who goes for action spectaculars but despite a trailer hinting otherwise, "The Interpreter" proves to be a bit of a conundrum. The script does it's best to concentrate on the relationship between Penn and Kidman's characters but Pollack seems to be rather stuck between a rock and a hard place as he wants this to be both an action thriller and an intimate drama. Sometimes you can have both but not here and the movie suffers because of it.
Both Kidman and Penn are passable - with Penn giving the better performance of the two - but neither individually or together exactly set the screen alight. Meanwhile only Catherine Keener as Tobin's partner gets any significant screen time apart from the leading pair.
Admittedly it's very impressive that the filmmakers were able to persuade the UN to opens it's doors for them - this is the first film ever to be shot in the building - it's a just a shame that Pollack and this his screenwriters couldn't choose a genre and stick to it.
Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Audio Commentary With Director Sydney Pollack, Sydney Pollack At Work From Concept To Cutting Room, Interpreting Pan And Scan Vs Widescreen, The Ultimate Movie Set The United Nations, A Day In The Life Of Real Interpreters
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 Anamorphic Wide Screen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 123 minutes
Production Year: 2005
Main Language: English
Hearing Impaired Languages: English
Certificate: 12 Suitable for Persons Aged 12 or Over
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Release Date: 15-08-2005