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Multiple Oscar winners translate “Interpreter” into hit film

Jacqueline Pimentel-Gannon | Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Having Academy Award winners as the director and the male and female leads by no means guarantees that a movie will be good, but “The Interpreter” is no disappointment. Sydney Pollack (Best Director for 1985’s “Out of Africa”) directs Nicole Kidman (2003 Best Actress for “The Hours”) and Sean Penn (2004 Best Actor for “Mystic River”) in this fascinating thriller.In “The Interpreter” Sylvia Broome (Kidman), an interpreter for the United Nations, overhears a whispered plot to kill a visiting African dignitary. Federal Agent Tobin Keller (Penn) is responsible for the controversial African leader’s safety, and he must decide whether or not to believe Broome’s tip. This decision is easily made when people start following and trying to kill Broome. Now Keller must protect Broome while simultaneously trying to find out what secrets she herself is hiding. It is a race against time to try to crack the conspiracy before the dignitary arrives at the UN.The movie’s plot has many twists and turns, and as soon as audience members think they have figured out who the bad guy is, they find out they are wrong. There is one action sequence aboard a bus that is a convergence of several story lines and really highlights the filmmakers’ skill to capture many things going on at once. “The Interpreter” is intriguing from start to finish. Only the ending leaves something to be desired – it is anticlimactic after such an exciting film.The acting is excellent. Both Penn and Kidman are convincing in their roles, and the supporting actors make memorable contributions as well. Some lines are cliché and could have been written better, but they are delivered well and do not end up taking away from the overall dialogue.The best part about the movie is its realistic subject. This is a story that could easily be imagined occurring today. The fact that the movie was shot inside the UN headquarters in New York greatly enhanced its authentic feel. UN staff members appeared as some of the extras. It was the first time that the General Assembly and Security Council chambers had been used in filming. Pollack had to meet with Kofi Annan to get permission, and all filming had to be done on the weekends so as not to disturb the day-to-day operations of the UN.This film offers a fascinating glimpse into international diplomacy and the tenuous ties that bind shaky relationships between states. It also gives an interesting perspective on revenge and its merits, or actually, lack thereof.”The Interpreter” is not a typical mindless summer movie. Anyone interested in politics or world events will greatly enjoy this intellectually stimulating film, as will those people who simply want to see a good suspense film.