What I admire most about the film is the way it enters the terms of this world -- of international politics, security procedures, shifting motives -- and observes the details of all-night stakeouts, shop talk, and interlocking motives and strategies.
As a political thriller it works quite well and it is largely thanks to the cast and a plot that is careful not to leave any loose ends. The last 30 minutes are the ones that take the palms for the handling of the suspense.
I really liked this movie. When I saw the names of the cast and director, Sydney Pollack, I was immediately convinced that this was a movie I would probably enjoy seeing, and this week I finally got that opportunity. It's not a perfect movie, though... there are flaws, but I handled them well and managed to enjoy the best of the movie and have a nice time.
The script is really very good and engaging: with the UN as a backdrop, an intrigue of international contours develops: in a fictional southern African country, there is a president who turned from hero to villain... after freeing his country from a kleptocratic dictatorship, he himself turned into a dictator and waged civil war and ethnic cleansing with thousands dead. His direct opponents are in exile but mysteriously begin to be murdered... and, by chance, a UN language interpreter discovers that he will also be the target of an attack when he addresses the UN General Assembly in a few days. She informs the authorities, but the investigating officer begins to realize that he may have serious reasons to distrust this interpreter, and she may not be as innocent as she appears.
The film has a really well-written script that is sure to grab the attention of fans of thriller and suspense films. There's something here that reminded me of the movie "North by Northwest", perhaps because both movies focus so much on UN headquarters. It's a moderate-intensity drama, but elegant, with a good pace, but it faltered a little towards the end, which I felt was not climactic.
The cast is effectively led by Nicole Kidman. She is perfectly at ease in this role, tailored to her abilities by a director who already knows her quite well. I felt she failed to give the character a convincing accent for a white South African, with her voice slipping too much into the actress' native accent. Sean Penn's participation was equally welcome and, despite looking worn out and under a lot of stress, I thought it was good for his character here. On the negative side, Catherine Keener almost disappears in most of the film and has little time and space to do anything good. Yvan Attal is good enough, but he also has limited action in the movie, and the rest of the cast only show up occasionally.
Technically, the movie is virtually flawless. The cinematography is excellent, the footage is really well executed, there is good color, light and very good editing. The soundtrack is uninteresting, more, or less in line with what we might expect in an expensive, well-budget thriller. Composed by James Newton Howard, the only melody that stands out is the song with the African children, almost a leitmotif throughout the film. Last but not least, the film was able to make good use of the rare opportunity to be able to film inside the actual UN headquarters. The sets couldn't be better.
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.
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.
'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.
The Interpreter is a kind of thriller, drama and mystery film which when I first saw I thought was okay. Director Sydney Pollack directs the film beautiful and it was made in 2005 and stars Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn... Sean Penn's performance is excellent and so is Nicole Kidman's for the most part but there's problems and issues with the film. Some of the guys that appear to be bad seem to be like good guys more than badguys which is odd and there isn't much action. The Interpreter relies too much on ongoing conversations and discussions, some of which are uninteresting and boring. Some of the characters and actors are horrible and most of it makes no sense at all.