DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

The Interpreter - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}An interesting departure from the usual Hollywood-thriller fare, director Sydney Pollack's new film The Interpreter has Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn cast as two lonely people who struggle to deal with their grievances over lost loved ones as they find themselves tangled up in a web of politics and murder.

Nicole Kidman plays the titular character, Sylvia Broome; a U.N interpreter, raised in the fictional African country of Matobo, now living in New York, who one night, alone in her office, accidentally overhears a conversation in the rare tribal language of 'Ku'- that just so happens to be the language of her native home. The whispered private conversation hints that an assassination attempt on the now-corrupt President of Matobo, is to take place in the near future; and suddenly Sylvia is worried she may know a little too much. Enter Sean Penn, as Secret Service agent Tobin Keller, whom Broome presumes has been assigned to protect her, but in fact, as he tells her, is there to investigate her and her claim. Despite the initial mistrust, a bond starts to develop between the two, as each discovers the other's sad experiences with life and death, and soon both find themselves involved in a plot that threatens their, and others, lives.

Penn and Kidman make quite an interesting pair, and a certain, atypical chemistry- not romantic- develops between the two of them. Kidman's Broome is a woman of secrets, a grieving woman who hides her pain, and Kidman, employing an intriguing, but somehow not irritating, slight African accent is convincing as the vulnerable woman from an apparently not-so-make-believe country (there are clear and disturbing parallels, it seems, between made-up Matobo and real-life Zimbabwe). Keller, like Broome, also grieves, and, also like Broome, does it by wrapping himself in his work. Although Keller also seems somewhat alcoholic, he is an efficient Secret Service agent and the much-lauded Penn makes the most of what he's given and serves up a compelling enough portrayal of a character on edge.

The Interpreter, by modern standards, is a restrained film in terms of 'action', but it builds up suspense very well - Pollack, in his seventies, is no amateur and clearly knows what he's doing. The use of frequent and frenetic quick-cutting, for example, combined with some amazingly intense music, lends real excitement to a couple of great set-pieces, including the climactic finale. The first film to be allowed to shoot inside the real United Nations, (where Hitchcock's North by Northwest was rejected), The Interpreter proves to be an intelligent, and absorbing film, and though it's a rare thriller nowadays that requires patience, concentration, and only a fairly minimal suspension of disbelief from its' audience, this refreshingly adult thriller is more than welcome- it's well-made, well-acted, and well worth the price of admission.


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