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film – The Interpreter

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The Interpreter 2.5/5

I had high expectations for this film. It stars both Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman and is directed by Sydney Pollack, an Oscar-winning director.

UN interpreter Sylvia Broome, specialist in African languages, overhears a possible discussion about an assasination attempt on the soon to be visiting President of Matobo. The President was a grass roots freedom fighter but after becoming the country’s leader, he became a brutal dictator. Broome, as initally interviewed by weary Secret Service agent and recent widow, Tobin Keller (Sean Penn.) Keller is normally assigned to protect visiting dignitaries and tries to size up Broome and her accusations.

Soon, we learn that Broome’s past in Matobo crosses with the dictatorship in way that affects her for the rest of her life. As the film drags on, we learn more and more about the past of the elusive Sylvia Broome.

The performances in the film are credible but not especially noteworthy, no doubt due to the weak script. Kidman isn’t particularly appealing as the central focus of the film. Her vulnerability is diminished by her elusiveness. Her interactions with minor characters in the film, seem contrived, rather than by chance or surprise.

The film is not succint enough to make for a delicious thriller. It doesn’t give you a good aha moment where it all falls into place. You don’t get a chance to try to solve the mystery on your own like you do in other films. There are moments of tension, but they don’t make up for the poor script.

I’ll give Pollack credit, though, for not adding a fashionable, sugary romance. It appears romance was part of the shooting but all it was wisely edited out of the final cut.

The theatre was packed but it was mostly older folk, 50s and up.

I wouldn’t watch it again.

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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.
  • Norm Gregory

    So an audience isn’t valid unless it’s members are under 50?


    Thanks for the warning.

  • Triniman

    Someone said recently that if you have a mostly older audience, a film won’t do as well as expected. Will it have legs? We’ll see.