UN interpreter Sylvia Broome, played by Kidman, has overheard a plot to kill the visiting tyrannical leader of her (fictional) African homeland. She waits a day before going to authorities, which causes them to be suspicious of her.
Sean Penn plays Tobin Keller, the secret service agent assigned to investigating Broome and the plot she allegedly heard. He is also haunted by the recent death of his estranged wife.
While the movie has a good premise, and an intriguing landscape, the plot fails, often predictable, and low on tension. Broome comes off whiney instead of desperate, a victim instead of an activist.
Penn plays his role well, and his damaged character comes off sincere and smart, too smart to be fooled even for a minute by his subject’s game playing. It’s too bad he wasn’t given a better story to work with.
The first half hour of the L-O-N-G movie (two plus hours) drags. The story builds too slowly for the thriller it is suppose to be. I also spent the last half hour checking my watch, having guessed where it was going, and having lost all interest in the fate of most of the characters.
That’s not to say the movie was a complete dud. Some of the sub-plots, including that about Keller’s wife’s accident, were very intriguing. It also served up some interesting political questions, but in the end the delivery was not quite as good as it could have been.