Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Interpreter. B-

Some movies you expect to be great and they end up being disappointing, whereas other movies are looked upon as seemingly horrible and end up being a pleasant surprise. 'The Interpreter,' directed by Sydney Pollack, is sort of a mix of both. It boasts two terrific actors, Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman, and direction from oscar winner Pollack (Out of Africa, Tootsie, Three Days of the Condor) but it is also set up as a fast paced, entertaining Hollywood thriller, a genre that is always fun, but rarely produces genuine quality films. So I was stuck between these two factors, and in the end I realized that based on the two ideas, that this was better than the typical thriller thanks to the acting (though Kidman actually wasn't great) and Pollack's direction, plus a story that is actually pretty deep. Kidman plays Silvia, an interpreter working at the United Nations. After she overhears what sounds like an assassination attempt, secret service agent Tobin Keller (Penn) is assigned to investigate. Immediately Keller begins to suspect Silvia, who formerly belonged to guerilla group in Africa. THe United Nations is planning a visit from Edmond Zuwanie (Earl Cameron) the president of Matobo. Zuwanie is responsible for many deaths of innocent people (including Silvia's family) and the United Nations has a plan to indict him. Keller realizes that the assassination might be for Zuwanie, and he works on a plan to protect him. 'The Interpreter' was pretty easy to follow for the first half, but when the pace quickens and more and more characters arise, you may find yourself rewinding and watching scenes again to make sure you catch everything. The movie isn't structured very well. It doesn't flow smoothly and many of the scenes, including one that takes on a bus, seemed very unbelievable. Still, we have to credit Pollack for making a movie that is a few ranks above the average thriller, though in the hands of Pollack, we expect the movie to be a little better than it actually was.

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