Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Interpreter

THE INTERPRETER (Sydney Pollack, 2005)

In THE INTERPRETER Nicole Kidman stars as Silvia Broome, a United Nations translator who accidentally overhears plans to assassinate the president of the war torn country Matobo. FBI agent Tobin Keller, played by Sean Penn, is assigned to the case, but he’s not sure whether he should focus on protecting Silvia from the bad guys or suspecting her of involvement with the plot. Questions abound about Silvia. Not only is she one of the few people at the U.N. who speaks the rare language of the conspirators, but also she has ties to opposing political figures in the fictional African country.

THE INTERPRETER is a solid political thriller told on a human level. Director Sydney Pollack keeps Silvia and Tobin at the film’s center. Rather than making THE INTERPRETER about the twists and turns, its focus is the people who don’t know how to read the situation in which they have found themselves. Kidman and Penn play off of each other well. Their performances are subdued and mostly closed off, which heightens the sense of mystery. Hints of a romance enter the equation but aren’t forced. As their relationship--professional or otherwise--deepens, uncertainty surfaces as to who’s playing whom or if that’s even the case all. The action setpieces, including a well-cut sequence on a bus, are spare but effective.

Grade: B

(Review first aired on the April 26, 2005 NOW PLAYING)

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