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The Interpreter
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  • Good actors save movie
    The cast of The Interpreter obviously saves this movie. Although the plot is intelligent enough, no way this movie would have been an outstanding success without the acting capabilities of Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman!
    After Interpreter Kidman overhears some information she shouldn't have the rising tension is being displayed very well. However there is a very remarkable fact in this movie, that doesn't make any sense. Why isn't Kidman's part played by a black actress? Having white Kidman speak a native African language like this Ku is absolutely ridiculous! What was going through Sydney Pollack's mind when he had Nicole Kidman say lines like: "I'm going back to my people in Africa!"? (SARR)

    ...more info
  • What was the point of this boring film?
    The Interpreter starring Sean Penn, Nicole Kidman, and the annoying Catherine Keener is such a disappointment to me. I was expecting a classy thriller, what I got a watered-down, pretentious 2-hour bomb. I like Kidman but when was the last time she did a movie that was actually good?! And what is so great about director Sydney Pollack? He is highly over-rated.Avoid this disaster, you will be fast-forwarding this one to end just to see the pointless and stupid ending. ...more info
  • Clearly up for interpretation
    I'm surprised there are so many so-so reviews of this movie - I thought it was really good. The plot was pretty hard to follow at times, but Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn were great, and there were times when the suspense was almost too much to take. The twist at the end was totally unexpected - all along I thought I knew what was going on, and who the bad guy was, but that was completely shattered in the last scenes. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that it was a little long and convoluted - I kept thinking the movie was about to be over with, and then a whole new plotline would come up....more info
  • Sidney Pollack's last film is a good thriller
    This film would be, unfortunately, director Sidney Pollack's last. Boasting a cast of Oscar winners (Kidman and Penn), and a slightly convoluted story, "The Interpreter" is also gripping entertainment. Pollack begins his story in South Africa with the killing of 2 journalists and then segues to the UN where Kidman as an Afrikanner interpreter works. As the story slowly unfolds, we find that her knowledge of a planned assasination could put her life in danger and that's where a cynical FBI agent (Penn) comes in to check up on her story. What begins as a tentative relationship between the two slowly unfolds as they become intricately involved but without actually having a consumative relationship which marred Pollack's own "3 Days of the Condor" (I could never buy the relationship between Redford and Dunaway). In this era of short attention spans, Pollack should be applauded for taking his time in developing these relationships as well as slowly involving us in their dilemna (the slight twist near the end was nice). This film is a fitting testament to the legacy of Sidney Pollack who also uses the widescreen format to excellent effect here. ...more info
  • A film that settles for being "good for you" rather than actually "good"
    "The Interpreter" is intelligent, well intentioned, and stylish but unfortunately lacks an involving narrative and characters one truly cares about. Maybe it's shallow of me, but I really think this movie needed a little more "punch" and good old entertainment value. In the end, the film is watchable and interesting (and its dialogue about human rights issues is certainly honorable) but it could have been a lot more. Fans of sterile, more intellectual thrillers will likely be more forgiving, but I personally like my thrillers to be more, well... thrilling. The DVD features a crisp, clean widescreen image and generous extras that flesh out many of the issues discussed in the film. ...more info
  • Brutal
    This might have been the first movie filmed inside the UN, but one can only hope that UN is not as stupid as the movie portrays it to be. The security checks were twisted. On the one hand, the entire UN building was evacuated because of a faulty metal detector and on the other hand, when it was known that a killer was in the building, security simply allowed the conference to continue. Sydney Pollack is a very intelligent individual, but here he lost his head once he realized he could film inside the UN.
    Overall, I think the movie was pointless as it simply highlighted what we already knew. A lot of innocent people are being killed in Africa. A better alternative would be to watch the Lord of War. In there, at least, they make a mockery of what's happening in Africa....more info
  • Interpret this
    Nicole Kidman plays an interpreter for the United Nations who accidentally overhears a conversation she thinks is linked to a possible assassination plot. Sean Penn is the Secret Service agent assigned to investigate and/or protect her - it's never completely clear. The movie holds together well for about the first hour, beginning with a tense scene set in Africa. Gradually, we learn about Kidman and Penn's characters. Penn is initially skeptical of Kidman's claims, which adds some nice tension. However, the plot shifts dramatically during a confusing bus ride, and the movie's believability subsequently went out the window for me. The script for "The Interpreter" reeks of doctoring - indeed Scott Zallian (Schindler's List) and others were supposedly brought in for re-writes.

    A major problem aside from the muddled plot is that Nicole Kidman's character is quite remote. It's hard to sympathize with her when you never have any idea what she's thinking or feelings. In this respect, her work and character here reminded me of her movie released just prior, the dismal "Birth." Penn is solid in his role, but he's certainly had more to work with in other recent films (Mystic River, 21 Grams). Unfortunately, the brilliant Catherine Keener is wasted in yet another movie. Her role is generic, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason for when she appears. She seems to be Sean Penn's partner, but then he seems to work alone quote a bit. Anyway, she's sadly wasted here.

    "The Interpreter" made a bit of press as the first major release filmed at the United Nations. This setting does help with a few scenes, particularly those featuring the General Assembly. However, many of the U.N. scenes consist of stairwells or small offices, even a bathroom. The overall effect is probably not worth the hassle, as Sidney Pollack reportedly had to fight voraciously for permission to film there. Speaking of Pollack, "The Interpreter" is only his second film in the last decade, following the bomb, "Random Hearts." Pollack was one of the most talented directors working from the late 60s (The Shoot Horses, Don't They?) through the mid-80s (Out of Africa), so it's somewhat perturbing to see him floundering with a mediocre thriller. He has even contributed to this genre previously with the far superior "Three Days of the Condor" (1975); even "The Firm" (1993) is arguably better.

    In sum, "The Interpreter" is a decent thriller and time-filler, although it is rather old-fashioned in its storytelling and pacing. In that respect, it has the feel of a 1970s thriller, although a weak one at that. Extras include an unremarkable alternate ending and a very sedate director's commentary from Sidney Pollack.
    ...more info
  • UN PROPAGANDA
    A piece of UN propaganda that Sydney Pollock got special permission from beseiged leader Kofi Anon to film in the UN . Pollock even admits he wrote the script as he filmed the movie and it shows . ...more info
  • Great entertainment
    Just watched this with a couple family members and it was a great night's entertainment. Several times during the film we stopped it to kind of catch each other up on the details and hash over what was happening - great fun! Acting was wonderful and we appreciated that people didn't casually end up in bed with each other. Loved the mix of reality with the actual U.N. building, broad social justice themes, and personal psychological work that went on. Definitely worth watching....more info
  • So many names...
    Sean Penn, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack... they could've created stronger film especially the end of it....more info
  • Action, suspense & characters you feel for = a great movie!
    This is an very entertaining movie. The entire cast play off each other very well. Characters are very believeable. A bit of a tortured soul theme going on in the background but the main plot is all action & suspense. Well plotted and executed movie. If I had seen this in a cinema it would have been worth the cost of admission & a bag of popcorn!...more info
  • The Interpreter
    A modern day thriller; a story about greed and terrorism with a background of grief and loss. Acting is excellent....more info
  • Well crafted movie.
    The story has continuity as it develops the main theme of the movie. The leading actors deliver a superb acting....more info
  • very bland thriller
    **1/2

    Considering the level of talent involved in its making (Sean Penn, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Keener in front of the camera and director Sydney Pollack behind), "The Interpreter" turns out to be a surprisingly dull and lackluster political thriller, one whose attempts at topicality can't make up for the film's extreme over length and tedious plotline.

    Kidman plays Sylvia, an interpreter working at the U.N., who accidentally overhears what sounds like death threats aimed at an African dictator who is scheduled to deliver a speech before the General Assembly in a few weeks. Penn and Keener are investigators who begin to suspect that Sylvia may not be quiet the disinterested observer she portrays herself to be in regards to the case.

    There's nothing overtly wrong with "The Interpreter" except that it never manages to engage us very fully in either its storyline or its characters. Everyone involved in the production - from writer to director to actor - seems to be just going through the motions here. In the inevitable romantic scenes, Penn and Kidman generate zero charisma together, and Keener is essentially wasted in her role as Penn's unsmiling, cynical partner.

    On second thought, there is one aspect to "The Interpreter" that might, be deemed offensive by some - and that is the film's willingness to use sensitive topics like genocide and terrorism as mere window dressing for what is, when all is said and done, a pretty lightweight whodunit confection. ...more info
  • A mixed bag
    Yet another case where the 5 and 1 star reviews are dominating with it having no resonance what so ever in my experience - why cant you reviewers make your point verbally rather than exaggerating the amount of stars you give?
    The plot is realistic in the sense of how the world deals with conflicts in non-oil rich 'banana republics' and the director's pro UN / anti war point of view shines clearly through. Other than that the story line is thin and far fetched as many have pointed out. But the acting is no less excellent despite of that and there are many philosophical gems inserted along the way (allegedly all deriving from the sayings in the 'Ku' language).
    With realistic expectations the movie is maybe not a must see but a good overall experience nevertheless and we must all learn to ignore most of the 5 and 1 star reviews. ...more info
  • Somewhat interesting
    This was film was half bad. It wasnt anything special or great, but it kept my interest throughout. It seemed believable and plausable, the characters, for the most part felt realistic. The plot was somewhat confusing and overblown though. Its not very suspenseful nor is it very mysterious, but all in all, it wasn't terrible either. Its just one of those films that you can watch, and say OK, and just move on. Its forgettable. ...more info
  • Great Actors In A Boring/Bad Movie
    I give it two stars for the theme of the movie and plot which is unique! Unfortunately, I had watch this movie at two different times in order to "get into it." I couldn't help but fastforward the last 30 minutes because I just wanted it to be over with!!! If no one screened this movie before it was put on DVD, it shows! I'd rather watch tv than this movie!...more info
  • Terrible movie, but...
    this particular movie holds some sentimental value for me. I saw this movie in the theatres, taking a girl I had just recently met on our first date. Fast forward four years and we're still in an amazing relationship. Bought her this movie for Valentine's Day, and even though we'll never watch it, it still means a lot to both of us. ...more info
  • Dull
    Despite a terrific performance by Sean Penn, and a decent one from Nicole Kidman, this movie didn't move me. It manages to be both dull and improbable. There's a lot of Screenwriting 101 in it, stakes raised in a way that, unfortunately, feels very artificial. It also seems quaintly nostalgiac in its depiction of the UN. The founders of the UN might have fantasized it would work like this in 2005, but it doesn't.

    It's diverting enough if you've seen everything else, or if you are a fan of the stars. But keep your expectations low. ...more info
  • Nicole Kidman is always beautiful , even in this terrible film . . .
    It takes itself a bit too seriously. The casting is far stretched also. A silly piece of work.

    Halle Berry would have been perfect in the role of Sylvia, but Nicole Kidman? She is supposedly African, with an African lover, and in all the photographs within the movie and among all the other people shown as her countrymen in the USA, she is the only one who is not black.

    There is no credibility on any count, whether the casting or the very, very weak story. Neither are the views of Manhattan, particularly in the last scene where it looks like a pastel backdrop rather than a view of the east side of the island. A waste of time, except for watching Nicole Kidman, one of the most beautiful people on the screen today....more info
  • Is she who we think she is?
    Academy Award winning director Sidney Pollack brings together fellow Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn and turns in a pretty intriguing film. The movie works during the first 30 minutes as a US interpreter hear about a possible assasination attempt on a controversial African leader. Then the film goes into a lull of boring dialogue for the next 25 minutes. Then the suspense starts up again as we find out she's being followed by unknown assassins. Then another boring lull of dialogue! The climax of the film finally brings all the pieces of the puzzle together, saving the film from certain destruction. There's enough mystery and suspense to keep you entertained. Recommended!...more info
  • Pleasently sursprized, Pollack is always great
    My first thought about seeing this movie, was that I did not want to see Nicole Kidman again. But while on a cruise, this Spring, The Interpreter was playing and decided that a "free" ticket was a good reason to see it. I like suspence movies and in all cases of S.Pollack, cerebral is central in his fillms. Sean Penn's acting is like Johnny Depp's, insightful and extremely interesting. I probably won't buy a copy of this DVD, but I did enjoy the movie. ...more info
  • Difficult to follow
    This is the type of movie that you need to see on DVD instead of the theater because it is hard to follow and you may need to re-watch earlier scenes several times to understand everything.

    The beginning scene is pretty hard to watch because two guys are slaughtered by some kids. You know that somehow this scene will have a bearing on the movie. The next scene shifts to the UN and Silvia (Nicole Kidman), is working as an interpreter during a session. There is an issue with one of the metal detectors not functioning so the security force shuts down the building until they can check that nothing has been snuck in (of course something was snuck in but we will only find out at the end). For some strange reason Silvia needs to stay late (apparently to retrieve her flute) and hears a conversation in the seemingly empty conference hall. Surprisingly it is in an African language which just happens to be her native tongue. It implies an assassination attempt on the heard of her country (How does a woman with an Austrailian accent happen to be a native African?).

    Sean Penn portraying a secret service agent is called in to investigate and initially does not believe Silvia. As the story goes on we now that Penn is saddened by the recent death of his wife and Silvia, by the slaughter of her family in Africa. Everything in this movie is not what it seems to be and anyone that might have seen The Manchurian Candidate can later figure out what will happen.

    I found this movie very slow and disappointing....more info
  • Close-ups of her Face.
    A nationally known reviewer (or, at least, he is well known in LA area radio) was mentioning in a review over the radio that the movie showed too many close-ups of Nicole Kidman's face, but I was able to talk with him over the telephone, and I told him that I didn't even notice that the camera lingered on close-ups of Nicole's face.
    Besides, she's a pretty girl, and a movie could do worse than show lots of close-ups of Nicole Kidman's face, and I told him (and you too, amazon readers) if a person REALLY wants to see a movie that sets the record for having so much of itself consisting of close-ups of one person's face, try The Ring Two, where practically the whole movie is close-ups of Naomie Watts's face....more info
  • Political intrigue at the U.N.
    Nicole Kidman plays a United Nations interpreter who overhears a plot to assassinate a dictator from her native country in Africa, where her family was brutally murdered. Sean Penn is the CIA agent assigned to the case. At first, he doubts Kidman's story and he subjects her to a lie detector test. The U.S. security agencies are determined that an assassination will not take place on U.S. soil, but it is difficult to tell the good guys (or in Kidman's case, girls) from the bad ones. This is a well-done movie with plenty of political intrigue and a growing relationship and mutual sharing of grief between Kidman and Penn....more info
  • Incredible they made such a bad movie!
    Let me see if I get this movie.
    Silvia (Nicole Kidman) overhears by mistake a plot for killing the dictador, so she put herself on risk telling the Secret Service who doesn't believe her at the first place.
    Now, she has a guy who is trying her for telling the SS, but finaly she decides she better kill the dictador all by herself.
    Why didn't she just hears the conversation and not telling anyone about it, so someone else would have kill the dictador?
    STUPID MOVIE, DON"T LOSE YOUR TIME!...more info
  • Just your average everday conspiracy thriller
    The Interpreter is nothing to write home about. Sydney Pollack's thriller suffers from a bit of an identity crisis - does it want to be a Hitchcock suspenser, conspiracy thriller, character piece, morality play or poltical drama? To which the answer is, probably. Throwing away its Hitchcockian premise, it wears the conspiracy clothes most comfortably, but the plot is easily guessed thanks to two massively unsubtle hints and, aside from a good sequence on a bus, builds up to what would be a serious anticlimax if the rest of the film were any better. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, the latter looking like a bizarre deflated hybrid of Walter Matthau, Dustin Hoffman and Pollack himself here, do ok by their cliched parts and the casting of Earl Cameron, one time elder statesman of British race-relations pictures like Sapphire and Flame in the Streets, as the Mugabe-like liberator-turned-dictator is clever. It's watchable in a once-only way, but it's a long way from the quality of Three Days of the Condor. Next time, guys, finish the script before starting shooting.
    ...more info