"the truth needs no translation..."
The Interpreter (12a)
Dir. Sydney Pollack
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Should I ever find myself the power crazed dictator of some small African nation, I’ll certainly be really glad that I saw The Interpreter. This film is packed full of tips about how to secure your power base (simply stage an assassination attempt at the UN), try and escape war crime trials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (you should stage an assassination attempt at the UN at your earliest convenience) or even show the world that mass murder can be a ‘pre-emptive strike against terrorism’ by, yes, staging an assassination attempt at the UN. I’ll also be on the lookout for foxy blonde minxes who might just overhear something they shouldn’t whilst working late at the UN, you just can’t be too careful when planning political assassinations…
So here’s The Interpreter, an absorbing old school thriller by master director Sydney ‘Out of Africa’ Pollack that sets up a decent premise and plays it out with a “AAA” cast and a few key action scenes. Nicole Kidman is the interpreter of the title and she does indeed hear a whispered threat to kill a despot genocidal African dictator when he visits the UN. Unfortunately, the would be assassins see her and so must take her out before she can spoil their plan. It’s all rather suspenseful and the excellent Sean Penn is appointed by the US secret service to keep her safe. Yes – a classy, sexy, single interpreter teaming up with rugged handsome protector (who’s conveniently just lost his wife), bet you have absolutely no idea where this plot might go… But The Interpreter doesn’t serve up the expected well worn love story – rather, thanks in no small part to the quality of the lead actors, we get a tangled situation that engages the mind as well as the heart. This is no wham bam – brain in neutral - action movie, you will need to pay attention and it will really help if you can get your head round the concepts that patience and forgiveness can be just as effective as bloody vengeance.
Kidman is a beguiling mixture of driven determination balanced with attractive fragility, while Penn adds to his impressive list of portraying likeably intense men with issues.
In true thriller style, there is much more going on underneath the surface than meets the eye – who can be trusted, what are their motivations and can Penn save the day?
There’s only one way to find out…
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (efficient issue based tension)
Other film reviews by Matt Adcock