Directed by: SYDNEY POLLACK
Starring: NICOLE KIDMAN, SEAN PENN, CATHERINE KEENER
Released by: Universal Pictures
Short: Director Sydney Pollack and stars
Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn squander the opportunity
to make the most of this film’s setting
at the United Nations.
a World! What a World!
much access; so little interest
read the press, director Sydney Pollack had the world
on a string – the crew for “The Interpreter”
was given unprecedented access to locations inside United
Nations headquarters. But my how the world can be ravaged.
This story is hard to care about, poorly told and embarrassingly
Interpreter” starts out as a perfectly serviceable
action film. From an assassination in a dusty, fictional
country in Africa, we cut to the bookish yet gorgeous
Silvia (Nicole Kidman), a translator at the United Nations.
Silvia gets herself in a world of trouble by innocently
returning to pick up some belongings after the building
is locked down for a security lapse.
a while, it looks like the film is actually going somewhere.
There’s an African dictator and his thugs, and Secret
Service agents led by Sean Penn and Catherine Keener (we
could have used more of her), but nothing much happens
among them. Silvia is mixed up in it, then she’s
not, then she is... and so it plods for two-plus hours.
characters’ motivations are hazy, on-screen chemistry
is virtually nil, and some plot points make no sense.
Characters take long stretches to emote (there’s
no time for that in a thriller!) and shuffle through everyday
actions that are just d-u-l-l. If the United Nations is
actually this boring, you should be glad you failed that
Foreign Service exam.
sad because Pollack is one of our great directors (“The
Way We Were,” “Tootsie,” “Out
of Africa,” and “the Firm”), and “The
Interpreter” clearly has grand aspirations—the
script tells us that every chance it gets. Characters
wax (and wax and wax) on themes of death, vengeance and
patriotism, but we were ready to walk out the door before
there was any payoff.
these results, we wouldn’t mind if the Security
Council imposes sanctions all further filming at the United