Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    60
    Solid, mature and finely acted, but intermittently daft.
  2. 60
    The Interpreter is long and tangled, the score is yet another drownout from the thundering James Newton Howard, and the avowed thoughtfulness--about sub-Saharan politics, about the clashing commitments to peace and justice, about the kinship of damaged souls--is at once laudable and vaporous.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    60
    There's enough narrative for three fine films. But not enough for The Interpreter. The thriller pieces feel assembled rather than organic.
  4. 60
    In the end, nothing about The Interpreter strikes us as very original.
  5. The Interpreter dashes the suspense by talking the audience to death.
  6. 50
    When it comes to the United Nations, though, the movie turns to Jell-O. Whether Pollack was softened up by his meetings with U.N. brass (all the way up to Kofi Annan), or by his own gentlemanly Midwestern liberalism, he is alarmingly circumspect about that august body.
  7. 50
    Its talky, sluggish script is so bereft of thrills -- intellectual or otherwise -- that even the film's one masterfully staged sequence... falls flat.
  8. The film feels long, the editing is choppy, and the plot strands are at once convoluted and cliched.
  9. Conventionally described as a political thriller, but The Interpreter is as apolitical as it is unthrilling.
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    50
    Five people worked on the script; if there was ever any inspiration behind it, there isn't now.
  11. The ideal: It hopes to be a suspenseful political yarn carrying a lofty message of peace and understanding. The reality: It's just a flabby thriller that gets completely lost in translation.
  12. 50
    A righteous but wrongheaded thriller, chokes on its well-meant outrage and leaves a moth-eaten plot and handful of nonsense characters on its way to a dopey finish.
  13. 50
    The Interpreter is so intent on reminding us that it's a QUALITY piece of work that it forgets to give us the very thing we thought we came in for: a story.
  14. Gets more and more complex until it's almost laughable; it has too many beats, too many reverses, and in the end seems unbelievable.
  15. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    Too bloated with its own significance to deliver the requisite thrills.
  16. The director, Sydney Pollack, who appears briefly in the film, has done his experienced best with this Scotch-taped script. But his two stars are insuperable handicaps.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 132 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 79
  2. Negative: 15 out of 79
  1. Aug 11, 2012
    5
    'The Interpreter' is just simply not thrilling. That's quite a shame considering the film in question is a "thriller". Regardless, one of the'The Interpreter' is just simply not thrilling. That's quite a shame considering the film in question is a "thriller". Regardless, one of the final movies directed by Sydney Pollack does have its moments, with Catherine Keener a standout in her supporting role. Regrettably the two lead actors aren't as exciting. Sean Penn seems to do a decent job playing a rather dull and lifeless Secret Service agent and Nicole Kidman doesn't exactly light the world on fire with her South African accent. The filming locations are real, which is something at least. Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2014
    7
    A fascinating look at how different worlds collide. Nicole Kidman is daring and bold. The Interpreter is reflective of similar films of thisA fascinating look at how different worlds collide. Nicole Kidman is daring and bold. The Interpreter is reflective of similar films of this nature; however, uses fresh concepts surrounding the United Nations and rebellion. Full Review »
  3. PhilK.
    Jul 23, 2006
    5
    I have to say, in defense of Pollock, that I seriously doubt this is the film he inteneded to make. I saw an interview with him in which he I have to say, in defense of Pollock, that I seriously doubt this is the film he inteneded to make. I saw an interview with him in which he said, in effect, that he didn't enjoy making The Interpreter. I believe there was a lot more he wanted to say about the Zumanie character (his evolution into a tyrant, the devastating "structural adjustment" packages imposed by the IMF and World Bank, death squads financed by the US, etc.), but since he was filming at the UN, I'm sure the UN Security Council (i.e., the Bush Administration, NSA, CIA) put considerable pressure on Pollock to revise any scenes or dialogue which would shed some much needed light on how the most brutal leaders of developing countries are placed in power and who their policies always benefit to the detriment of the vast majority of its citizens. Having seen the trailer, and knowing that Pollock was directing Penn and Kidman, I expected a good, solid, political thriller. Like most who are familiar with Pollock's work, I was disappointed in the extreme. However, I should have known that any film made by a major studio dealing with a subject which was politically sensitive, would be a light ball of pink, confectionary fluff wrapped around a hollow core. Full Review »