Universal Pictures | Release Date: April 22, 2005
7.1
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 144 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
96
Mixed:
28
Negative:
20
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5
eTurkeyAug 11, 2012
'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'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
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5
DarrenM.Apr 30, 2005
Kidman is amazing and the story is well done, but Sean Penn ruins every movie he is in with his overacting.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
abirdMay 9, 2006
Definetly watchable. Characters a bit too underplayed.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
ChrisR.May 7, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
VinceH.Jun 3, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
GarethC.Aug 20, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
MiguelRApr 21, 2005
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
EarlD.Apr 24, 2005
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
HaileS.Apr 22, 2005
Mediocre, cliched and not particularly thrilling. Nicole Kidman is hot. Sean Penn's acting was laughable, he is a ham.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
JusticeT.Apr 22, 2005
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 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!! Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
AndrewK.Apr 23, 2005
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.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
wossnameApr 26, 2005
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
BruceMay 1, 2005
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
ChadS.May 3, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
PhilK.Jul 23, 2006
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
JackD.Apr 24, 2005
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
6
larrys.Apr 25, 2005
Terrific performances by Kidman and Penn but the overall plot leaves much to be desired. Typical American movie ending uggggggh!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
MarkB.Apr 28, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MarcK.May 11, 2005
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 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. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
BrutusO.May 17, 2005
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 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
0 of 0 users found this helpful