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6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 132 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 95 out of 132
  2. Negative: 20 out of 132
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  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 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'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. Expand
  2. MaddieS.
    Oct 11, 2005
    3
    I guess it was probably an ok film, but I was actually really bored.I would watch it again, but I don't want to waste my money.
  3. stanleyh.
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    Excellent job,very good performance by nicole kidman and sean penn.worth every penny to watch.
  4. DarrenM.
    Apr 30, 2005
    5
    Kidman is amazing and the story is well done, but Sean Penn ruins every movie he is in with his overacting.
  5. abird
    May 9, 2006
    6
    Definetly watchable. Characters a bit too underplayed.
  6. TonyB
    Oct 23, 2005
    8
    I enjoyed this well plotted and beautifully acted film immensely. It has something to say and says it in a manner that assumes its audience is perceptive and intelligent. Nicole Kidman handles a difficult role with strength, dignity and grace. Sean Penn's performance should silence those who claim he is always so over the top.
  7. ChrisR.
    May 7, 2005
    6
    The Interpreter stars Nicole Kidman an interpreter employed at the United Nations who accidentally overhears (in an African dialect that only she and about 8 other people in the entire US can understand) a plot to assassinate Motoboan President Zuwanie when he is scheduled to speak before the General Assembly in three days hence. Sean Penn is a CIA agent assigned protect Zuwanie during The Interpreter stars Nicole Kidman an interpreter employed at the United Nations who accidentally overhears (in an African dialect that only she and about 8 other people in the entire US can understand) a plot to assassinate Motoboan President Zuwanie when he is scheduled to speak before the General Assembly in three days hence. Sean Penn is a CIA agent assigned protect Zuwanie during the president's visit to the United States and, consequently, investigates the threat that Kidman belatedly reports to officials. There is initial distrust between Kidman and Penn but an alliance begins to form as the movie delves into the personal tragic background that each reluctantly reveals to the other. This is supposed to be a suspenseful, on the edge-of-your-seat thriller with intriguing interwoven plots and subplots, all to dramatically mesh together by the time of the climatic finish. Frankly, I found it somewhat lacking. It moved a bit slow and some of the actions and decisions by the main characters were not always logical. Sometimes there were distractions that, to me at least, took away from the drama. For example, when Penn meets Kidman for the first time and begins interrogating her, Kidman's hair falls forward and completely blocks her right eye. While I understand that the purpose of this was create a "mystery" about Kidman, a visual impression that she is hiding something, after a while I began to want to push the hair back. Then I wondered why Kidman's character would not, after about 20 seconds or so, push the hair away from her eye; then I wondered what Kidman's view of Penn must be, with one eye on Penn and the other eye looking at the back of her hair. Hey, when your mind begins to wander like that in a movie, something isn't connecting. Whatever .... I give this one a 6.00. Expand
  8. DanaM.
    May 8, 2005
    8
    Yes, there were some hard-to-believe elements of the story, like the main premise of the movie...someone discussing an assasination in the General Assebly room of the UN. But overall, it was very entertaining, and worth the almost forty bucks it costs to go to the movies these days when all is said and done. A good date flick.
  9. JoshC.
    May 9, 2005
    9
    A refreshingly intelligent screenplay with great acting and an interesting story. Nice footage of New York City is a bonus. This movie is thoroughly enjoyable.
  10. VinceH.
    Jun 3, 2005
    6
    Though not as impeccably taut and well-paced as Pollack's underrated thriller "The Firm", this is still largely an entertaining movie that does pass the "standard Hollywood thriller" bar (granted that bar is not set very high), but it is certainly filled with better acting than most of them. Penn's work here is not as brilliant as his last few movies, but he is still convincing. Though not as impeccably taut and well-paced as Pollack's underrated thriller "The Firm", this is still largely an entertaining movie that does pass the "standard Hollywood thriller" bar (granted that bar is not set very high), but it is certainly filled with better acting than most of them. Penn's work here is not as brilliant as his last few movies, but he is still convincing. Nicole Kidman looks more gorgeous in this movie than anyone of hers I've seen, but her character is underwritten yet (ironically) overwrought. In the third act, she does something that is completely out-of-character and her backstory is highly unconvincing. Despite these flaws, this is a damn good movie. Pollack and D.P. Darius Khondji give the look of the movie a cool-blue-grey-steel visual ambience that is perfectly suited to the crisp Washington D.C. atmosphere. Expand
  11. GarethC.
    Aug 20, 2005
    5
    What accent was that? Nicole Kidman's attempt at an African accent was poor. She sounded Swedish, and completely unbelievable. The lack of chemistry between her and Sean Penn, and the copius number of continuity errors involving Nicole's fringe distracting us from the film, made this an annoying rather than an intriguing and gripping experience. Being African we could suggest What accent was that? Nicole Kidman's attempt at an African accent was poor. She sounded Swedish, and completely unbelievable. The lack of chemistry between her and Sean Penn, and the copius number of continuity errors involving Nicole's fringe distracting us from the film, made this an annoying rather than an intriguing and gripping experience. Being African we could suggest numerous other actresses who would have been more suitable and convincing in the role - Charlise Theron probably being at the top of that list. This film had alot of potential, but the final product failed to impress. Seemed to be made from a very Hollywood perception of African politics and culture. Expand
  12. RobK
    Oct 6, 2005
    8
    The movie despite a weak ending, is stil a very solid, thought- provoking film. The movie at one scene got so suspenseful I had to look around the theater to relieve the amounting pressure the film was exerting on me. I thought Kidman did a very good job with how the character was written. Penn's character on the other hand needed to be developed more. The movie overall was definatly The movie despite a weak ending, is stil a very solid, thought- provoking film. The movie at one scene got so suspenseful I had to look around the theater to relieve the amounting pressure the film was exerting on me. I thought Kidman did a very good job with how the character was written. Penn's character on the other hand needed to be developed more. The movie overall was definatly worth my seven bucks. Expand
  13. AnthonyW.
    Apr 13, 2005
    10
    Kidman, Penn and Pollack, Wonderful combination.
  14. ShaneL
    Apr 15, 2005
    10
    A very good suspenseful thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire film. Beautifully filmed, directed and acted, this was a very pleasant surprise.
  15. laurab.
    Apr 16, 2005
    2
    Pretty awful and stupid.
  16. Michael
    Apr 17, 2005
    10
    Fabulous
  17. ArielS.
    Apr 20, 2005
    10
    This film was so, intoxicating. Moment by moment I loved Kidman more and more.
  18. MiguelR
    Apr 21, 2005
    4
    Long and Boring. Very predictable, and annoying.You do not give a damn about what happens to the main characters, or rather wish the film ended.
  19. Peter
    Apr 22, 2005
    8
    With two Academy Award winning veteran leading actors, this film was a pleasure to watch if only to watch the A-listers shine and strut their stuff. The screenplay was compelling enough but the direction, suspense, and rich and extravagant scenery leaves this film a cut above the rest.
  20. MovieFan
    Apr 23, 2005
    8
    Definitely a very good movie with some well developed points. It was very entertaining and the acting by both Kidman and Penn was perfect for this movie. For those who like this movie I would definitely recommend Hotel Rwanda...a far superior film yet.
  21. NiravM.
    Apr 24, 2005
    3
    What an egregious waste of time. Between the ad hoc character development and awesomely pathetic lines, this movie caused me to blurt out, Ignatius J Reilly style, on more than one occasion. Two key excerpts: Kidman to Penn: "What to you do when you can't sleep at night?" Penn to Kidman, after thoughtful pause: "I stay awake." And another: "Vengeance is a lazy form of grief." Gross!
  22. EarlD.
    Apr 24, 2005
    4
    This film takes the thrill out of thriller. It is a tedious snorefest. Sean Penn is a glum action star and Nicole Kidmon suffers with hair and accent issues. One exciting bus scene enveloped inside a trite talkfest equals the big yawn.
  23. KarenW.
    Apr 25, 2005
    9
    Smart & Exciting.
  24. MichaelS.
    Apr 28, 2005
    9
    Excellent film! Throw back to 70's political thrillers like Three Days of the Condor. Great job by Kidman and Penn. The film kept you guessing until the end.
  25. NormG.
    Apr 28, 2005
    9
    Sidney Pollock proves once again he can make a movie. This is my kind of popcorn, thrill-a-minute, old fashion '70s style matinee movie. Nicole Kidman (looking incredibly movie star beautiful) and Sean Pean (comfortably sliding into middle-age movie stardom) are at the top of their games. Not to ruin anything for you but, much to my relief, there was only a hint of romantic Sidney Pollock proves once again he can make a movie. This is my kind of popcorn, thrill-a-minute, old fashion '70s style matinee movie. Nicole Kidman (looking incredibly movie star beautiful) and Sean Pean (comfortably sliding into middle-age movie stardom) are at the top of their games. Not to ruin anything for you but, much to my relief, there was only a hint of romantic chemistry. Anything more would have destroyed the realism of tone. Sure the script might be a little more twisty than it needs to be, and has a few too many scenes in which we're deliberately kept in the dark . . . but it didn't bother me. This is a political thriller that will be on my top ten list for 2005. Expand
  26. Billl
    May 8, 2005
    1
    It sucks very dissapointed Very slow moving.
  27. HarrisonB.
    Jul 16, 2005
    8
    Good movie. It was the best I'd seen in a while. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn were great.
  28. CraigR.
    Jul 20, 2005
    10
    It had me glued to the screen and on the edge of my seat. Twists and turns in every direction. The sexual tension between Kidman and Penn was beyond belief and they didn't even end up in bed. Nicole is looking as beautiful as ever, what was Tom Cruise thinking. Sean Penn gave a powerful performance. If this isn't Oscar material, nothing is.
  29. marshall
    Oct 14, 2005
    10
    It was amazing, it's the best hitchcock movie hitchcock never made. i love hitchcock, and this would have been another masterpeice to add to his already amazing collection of murder mysteries. dont get me wrong, it did have a mind of it's own, it didn't follow in the foot steps of other movies, so rent it now!
  30. bjd.
    Nov 4, 2005
    7
    Held my interest. At time it was difficult to understand the characters accent, including Kidman. Sean Penn was great, as usual. Some parts of the movie didn't come together for us, but overall it's worth seeing. And there is violence but most of it is quite subtle.
  31. JaimeH.
    Apr 13, 2005
    10
    I think this movie is one of the best movies i have ever seen. I dont really like political thrillers, however this one is beautifully created in every sence of the word. Nicole Kidman is brilliant as Silvia Broome as is her counterpart Sean Penn as Tobin Keller. This movie is a must see for everyone.
  32. PeterL.
    Apr 14, 2005
    1
    This movie sucked. I a poor escuse for a thriller.
  33. [Anonymous]
    Apr 16, 2005
    10
    Very good!
  34. JonT.
    Apr 16, 2005
    9
    Saw screening two weeks ago - this is a very good film. Fast paced, great acting, great script, great music. Worth seeing, definitely.
  35. KevinP.
    Apr 16, 2005
    8
    Big commercial Hollywood thinking-man thrillers of this day (the rare few that exist) don't get any better than this. If you can get past the contrived premise (and the lengths it takes to stretch it to extremes), the various loopholes in the plot (the movie moves quickly enough for you to miss them) and Kidman's shaky accent, this is one good time at the movies, jam packed with Big commercial Hollywood thinking-man thrillers of this day (the rare few that exist) don't get any better than this. If you can get past the contrived premise (and the lengths it takes to stretch it to extremes), the various loopholes in the plot (the movie moves quickly enough for you to miss them) and Kidman's shaky accent, this is one good time at the movies, jam packed with emotions, politics, suspense and humour. Pollack steers the film confidently; the city and the UN building become more than a canvas for these events, they take on strong visual metaphors which drive the film and its message. Penn's performance is exceptional . This film moved me more than I expected. In the end, the message is greater than the flaws. Not to be missed. Expand
  36. emmaroseb.
    Apr 16, 2005
    1
    Boring boring boring. my god, stilted acting, predictable!!! and just plain i could barely sit through it it was so bloody boring.
  37. TimD.
    Apr 18, 2005
    3
    A vaguely well-intentioned mess. Great work from Sean Penn, but there were moments when even he couldn't overcome the clumsy, trite dialogue.
  38. DustinW.
    Apr 20, 2005
    10
    Got a chance to see this film 2 days ago, and i wont lie, im not a big fan of these type of movies but WOW! This is one of the BEST movies of the year, very suspensful, and a movie only nicole kidman, sean penn, and sydney pollack could pull off. I hope this film does well since everybody shold see it to form there own opinion. Very brilliant. A Must See!!
  39. HaileS.
    Apr 22, 2005
    4
    Mediocre, cliched and not particularly thrilling. Nicole Kidman is hot. Sean Penn's acting was laughable, he is a ham.
  40. JusticeT.
    Apr 22, 2005
    5
    Nicole proves again that the divorce was more about talent than incompatibility while Sean was obviously in it for a paycheck. Yet their abilities are highlighted in a piece that would have failed miserably with anyone else. Like The Human Stain, you sit there in awe not for the uniqueness of the story but for the sheer display of talent. Grand Hotel was not a great movie but the talent!!
  41. RhettW.
    Apr 23, 2005
    7
    In terms of the genre the movie only crackles during the "bus sequence." Pollack good --not great. Nicole and Sean fun to watch. Their acting chemistry was the most compelling thing about the movie.
  42. AndrewK.
    Apr 23, 2005
    4
    Like watching "The Bourne Identity" in slo-motion... This so-called thriller crawled like a koala... Neither Kidman nor Penn played likable characters, the plot was cliched, and you will forget you ever saw it in six months.
  43. RimaB.
    Apr 24, 2005
    9
    Sean Penn ,as usual, was excellent.
  44. TheDirtyOne
    Apr 25, 2005
    1
    Holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Honestly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, as it falls apart within the first 10 minutes. Two guys talking about an assasination attempt in the freaking U.N. assembly room??? GREAT idea! Yeah, that's a safe bet! And how the hell did they have access to the building after hours anyway? And why were the mics turned on so Nicole Holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Honestly one of the worst movies I have ever seen, as it falls apart within the first 10 minutes. Two guys talking about an assasination attempt in the freaking U.N. assembly room??? GREAT idea! Yeah, that's a safe bet! And how the hell did they have access to the building after hours anyway? And why were the mics turned on so Nicole Kidman can hear what they are saying? Very well thought out! These two must be master assasins. Best is the end, though. There is an assasination attempt on this dude speaking at the UN so the place goes bananas, he's rushed away by bodyguards like it' the end of the world but of course [Ed: Spoiler omitted....] Brilliant! Piece of crap. Expand
  45. wossname
    Apr 26, 2005
    6
    Preachy and illogical but the direction and acting is very good. The Interpreter ould have done with a bit less whispering about diplomacy and a bit more narrative tying up the plotholes. The ending in the UN seems so convoluted that you don't really care about it and the 'fourth act' is unnecesary. Hitchcock would have made this a masterpiece but it's worth a watch.
  46. TheCleanOne
    Apr 26, 2005
    8
    Nice movie. just don't go out with a movie geek (y'know, someone who focuses on the details really really much that they deserve to be kicked out of the movie house) and it'll go fine.
  47. mcronin
    Apr 26, 2005
    3
    Even though i am huge fan of politcal thrillers, i found this ridiculously bad. it may have had its heart in the right place but the writing was atrocious, the acting was mediocre and the direction was stagnant. i feel sorry for sean penn.
  48. Bruce
    May 1, 2005
    4
    Tries too hard. Not very suspenseful. Definately not a thriller. Subject matter that seems interesting at first quickly turns boring. While not terrible, the acting was nothing special at all. One of the worst Sean Penn movies I've seen in a while.
  49. ChadS.
    May 3, 2005
    5
    Sean Penn has so much integrity, he was due to bore us (or is it just me) if one of his typical soulful performances was applied to a film that doesn't need his patented gravitas. This is Nicole Kidman's movie and it seems to me that Penn's character didn't have to be recently widowed in lieu of his counterpart's tragic past. We have a thriller with two depressed Sean Penn has so much integrity, he was due to bore us (or is it just me) if one of his typical soulful performances was applied to a film that doesn't need his patented gravitas. This is Nicole Kidman's movie and it seems to me that Penn's character didn't have to be recently widowed in lieu of his counterpart's tragic past. We have a thriller with two depressed leads who would be better off in an independent production about codependency. Penn's angst is a distraction. "The Interpreter" gets bogged down by its ambition to be more than a thriller. Expand
  50. AlexM
    May 5, 2005
    3
    With high expectations, i was left pretty flat with this one. The acting was excellent from Penn and Kidman. Keener was given nothing to work with. The only great scene was bus sequence. There were holes in it and it was quite predictable, up to the very end, which was pretty bad.
  51. KebbieB.
    May 7, 2005
    8
    I agree that Penn's character is a bit overblown and that his "angst is a distraction". And that is the only reason this movie doesn't get a 9 or possbily 10. Kidman does an excellent job with her character and the twists and suspense are very good for a political thriller. The bus scene is phemomenal (worth the price of admission by itself). And with the current situation in I agree that Penn's character is a bit overblown and that his "angst is a distraction". And that is the only reason this movie doesn't get a 9 or possbily 10. Kidman does an excellent job with her character and the twists and suspense are very good for a political thriller. The bus scene is phemomenal (worth the price of admission by itself). And with the current situation in Sudan, Zimbabwe, (and lest we forget) Rwanda a very relevant and compelling story. Expand
  52. 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 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 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. Expand
  53. SusanM.
    Nov 22, 2005
    7
    I thought this was a smart and suspenseful thriller, but the ending was a bit silly. Still worth renting, though.
  54. markz.
    Nov 4, 2005
    1
    I've seen worse.
  55. DaveF
    Nov 4, 2005
    9
    Damn good movie. Keeps its head well above the hollywood-cliche quagmire. A "political thriller" with emotional intrigue.
  56. ClintM.
    Oct 19, 2005
    8
    An intelligent, well-acted political thriller. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn are the best of the best and continue to prove they deserved those Oscars. Loved it!
  57. akilis
    Apr 15, 2005
    10
    Kidman, Penn were brilliant, Pollack did a marvelous job. I will be seeing it again :).
  58. TimmyP.
    Apr 21, 2005
    3
    This movie had all the elements needed in a suspense thriller, minus the suspense and the thrills. It was boring, predictable, and too melodramatic. What a waste of acting talent.
  59. maryjo
    Apr 21, 2005
    10
    Loved the performances of Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Look out this is oscar worthy for director, lead actree lead actor and supporting actress!!
  60. Michael
    Apr 21, 2005
    10
    Fabulous
  61. ErikO.
    Apr 22, 2005
    8
    Much better than critics from NYT, New Yorker and Slate suggest. I thought the plot was exciting, Kidman was beautiful, and Kidman and Penn were both terrific actors. Yes, there's a little melodrama in his backstory, but all in all a very satisfying movie.
  62. BitBurn
    Apr 23, 2005
    8
    Great movie, great acting, great action!
  63. J.R.Taylor
    Apr 24, 2005
    3
    Boring, non thriller. Mediocre like most of the films of 2005 so far. Got really tired of Sean Penn's whiny character.
  64. MattC.
    Apr 24, 2005
    7
    Good movie, yet not one which you have to get completey involved with - and focus to watch - meaning it's very watchable, whatever your mood. Good performaces from Kidman and Penn, and a film that has a nice storyline and enough action that it keeps you interested. 7/10
  65. JackD.
    Apr 24, 2005
    6
    Not a bad thriller...as long as you dont examine the plot too carefully and find all the holes. Driector Pollack should be taken to task for his lack of visual continuity in multiple takes of the same scenes with Kidman's hair being over her eyes in one take and back off her face in another.
  66. ToniD.
    Apr 24, 2005
    8
    Good suspenseful thriller. Great acting and plot.
  67. TomM.
    Apr 24, 2005
    9
    Well acted smart thriller.
  68. LindaN.
    Apr 25, 2005
    8
    Very generalized and vague, but it's heart is in the right place. The U.N. needs to take another look at its security based on the ease of getting in and out without detection.
  69. larrys.
    Apr 25, 2005
    6
    Terrific performances by Kidman and Penn but the overall plot leaves much to be desired. Typical American movie ending uggggggh!
  70. SamL.
    Apr 26, 2005
    10
    AMAZING! Nicole and Sean deserve oscars for the fantastic work here. A spectacular film.
  71. Fantasy
    Apr 26, 2005
    8
    Very entertaining film in that it is suspenseful and the acting is excellent. Worth the watch.
  72. MarkB.
    Apr 28, 2005
    4
    Saying that this mostly pedestrian, questionably cast and rotely directed topical thriller of Big Important Ideas is Sydney Pollack's best work of the past twenty years isn't much of a compliment, considering that his post-Out of Africa output includes such unfiltered sewage as Havana, Sabrina and Random Hearts. Pollack's postcard depiction of The Big Apple still shows that Saying that this mostly pedestrian, questionably cast and rotely directed topical thriller of Big Important Ideas is Sydney Pollack's best work of the past twenty years isn't much of a compliment, considering that his post-Out of Africa output includes such unfiltered sewage as Havana, Sabrina and Random Hearts. Pollack's postcard depiction of The Big Apple still shows that he can give good travelogue, and the last 20 minutes feature enough standoffs, showdowns and twists to hoodwink some into thinking they've seen a GOOD suspense movie, but being released just a few months after Hotel Rwanda, a far more honest and penetrating examination of some of the themes this treats so superficially gives The Interpreter even less justification for existing. Nicole Kidman woodenly plays a United Nations interpreter who overhears what may be an assassination attempt on a despotic African dictator; while never being my favorite actress, and having won one of the most undeserved Oscars ever as Virginia Woolf in The Hours, she had since redeemed herself with a lacerating performance in Dogville and a sparkling comic one in The Stepford Wives, but here is back to her old tricks again: substituting a meticulous accent for a portrayal while never letting anything resembling an emotion pass across that porcelain face of hers. As for Sean Penn, assigned to protect (and investigate) her, I won't argue too strongly with those who believe that he's this generation's greatest actor; he often is, but I think he's miscast here: even with his character's tragic backstory, the nervous twitchiness that served him well in Mystic River, 21 Grams and many others is discomfortingly out of place. (Nothing wrong with casting against type, but who would YOU rather see as a cop entrusted with YOUR life: John Wayne or James Dean?) However, the wonderful Catherine Keener is absolutely the real deal as Penn's world-weary partner; the lines she's given may not be much more inspired than "Here's the file you were looking for" but she delivers them with a blend of cynicism and compassion that's as authentic as the Lieutenant Columbo coat she seems to live in. Original screenwriter Charles Randolph previously did the provocative Life of David Gale, which I may have been one of the five people in the known universe to have actually liked; it was an anti-capital punishment drama that was courageous and honest enough to admit that sometimes good people working toward admirable ends sometimes accomplish them by unscrupulous means; if The Interpreter had any similarly bold or original ideas, you can bet that they were flattened to mush during the rewrites. (Sorry, folks, "genocide is bad, but political assassination isn't any better" doesn't quite cut it.) Then again, The Interpreter's blithe assumption that the U.N. is the best problem solver since Dear Abby is, in a time in our nation's history when,for whatever childish, misguided or wrongheaded reasons, dismantling or pulling out of the U.N. is the only alternative that and more Americans can see to its general ineffectiveness, is just a prime example of The Interpreter's stock in trade: a bland, naively wide-eyed look at the world that represents liberalism at its weakest, and as a result keeps getting Republicans reelected to high office and affixing that permanent smirk to Ann Coulter's face. (Then again, what would you expect from a director who, in making Havana an unofficial remake of Casablanca, actually parallelled Castro's thugs with the World War II Resistance movement?) The Interpreter, whose low point is a terrorist attack on a piece of New York City public transportation that's staged and shot so impersonally that it's insensitive and offensive, may pretend to be asking lots of fundamental questions, but ultimately the only one that matters is: "What's the Ku translation of 'Sydney, go back to your acting career--in other people's films' ?" Expand
  73. MarcK.
    May 11, 2005
    5
    Intriguing plot, and pretty shots of New York City. After that, there are not too many positive things to say. In general, I don't like or dislike Nicole Kidman, but she was AWFUL in this movie. Also, a terrible job at writing dialogue...some of the worst I've seen in a long time. It made "The Upside of Anger" sound like Shakespeare.
  74. BubbaFresh
    May 14, 2005
    2
    Sydney Pollack has found a cure for insomniacs.
  75. BrutusO.
    May 17, 2005
    5
    Not bad, but a fair bit of suspension of disbelief is involved. Sean Penn overacts, Nicole Kidman underacts, terrorism and genocide are once again invoked at the expense of logic (hey Africa is involved, so why bother with anything but stereotypes), and the New York East side gets its best visual workout since "Manhattan". But as a Hollywood thriller, it looks OK, has some interesting Not bad, but a fair bit of suspension of disbelief is involved. Sean Penn overacts, Nicole Kidman underacts, terrorism and genocide are once again invoked at the expense of logic (hey Africa is involved, so why bother with anything but stereotypes), and the New York East side gets its best visual workout since "Manhattan". But as a Hollywood thriller, it looks OK, has some interesting locations, and was only fiifteen minutes too long. And some of the supporting performances were pretty good. Expand
  76. wiesb.
    Jul 25, 2005
    8
    A competent and interesting movie, good acting, real people, a bit old fashioned maybe.
  77. Syd.B.
    Sep 28, 2005
    10
    God bless Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn for giving performances that should get them oscar nominations but prob wont happen since this was released WAY to early..anyway i loved this movie and will be buying the DVD when it comes out...with this and The Constant Gardener, thrilers seem to becoming good again.
  78. SteveP
    Dec 15, 2005
    2
    This is probally Sydney Pollock's, I'm sorry Pollack's worst film ever. There was a message in it but it was distorted By Nicole Kidman's and Sean Penn's Bogas romance. And is this really a Thriller, there's about 5mins of action in it. the other 123mins is filled with Pollock's theriors of Pasifisum, and Diplomacy. I really liked how they encoraged the This is probally Sydney Pollock's, I'm sorry Pollack's worst film ever. There was a message in it but it was distorted By Nicole Kidman's and Sean Penn's Bogas romance. And is this really a Thriller, there's about 5mins of action in it. the other 123mins is filled with Pollock's theriors of Pasifisum, and Diplomacy. I really liked how they encoraged the sparing of African Hate Crime Offenders. It was also full of really dum dialog, about Nicoles' stupid south african traditions, and Sean's wife who cheated on him with a dancer. "All Right and action movie about Marital Betrail, African Death Rights, and Pasifisum, who about we make Terminator Rise of the Pasifist next!!!!" If you Hate War, Love War Criminals, and Have a Passion for Cheap Romance Films that clam to be Action films you will love this, Both of You!!!!!! Expand
  79. 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 this nature; however, uses fresh concepts surrounding the United Nations and rebellion.
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Thrillers don't get much smarter than The Interpreter.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Coolly absorbing without being pulse-quickening.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    60
    Solid, mature and finely acted, but intermittently daft.