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Awesome: 6.98%
Worth A Look46.51%
Just Average: 29.07%
Pretty Crappy: 9.3%
Sucks: 8.14%

8 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Interpreter, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Lost in Translation."
3 stars

Scripted by a trio of writers, and based upon a story penned by two others, The Interpreter feels as disjointed as if a pair of disparate tales written in different languages had been cobbled together, translated into English, and then re-translated into the movie’s fictional African tribal dialect, “Ku.”

The movie’s main hook is that the filmmakers were the first ever to be granted access to the United Nations headquarters in New York. Beyond the novelty of seeing that primary setting on screen – and one nail-bitingly tense scene staged aboard a city bus – The Interpreter suffers from an excess of implausible convolutions that lead, after everything has been sorted out, to a rather predictable denouement.

Nicole Kidman is Silvia Broome, a translator of “Ku” at the U.N. Born in the United States but raised in the fictional Republic of Matobo, Silvia returned to New York after her parents and sister were killed in a landmine explosion under the regime of the African nation’s evil head of state, President Zuwanie (Earl Cameron). Once a beloved leader and hero to his people, Zuwanie is due to arrive at the U.N. to speak in his own defense before being tried as a war criminal at The Hague. Despite being a militant dissident of Zuwanie, Silvia is assigned to translate his speech, since she is one of only a few people in the U.S. fluent in the Ku dialect. (Can anyone say “conflict of interest”?)

When Silvia returns to the U.N. building late one night to retrieve some personal belongings, she overhears a whispered conversation – in Ku, of kourse – that piques her kuriosity. Donning her headphones, she quickly comes to understand that the conversation is about a plan to assassinate Zuwanie. Realizing that she has been seen, and fearing for her own life, Silvia reports the conversation and is put in contact with Secret Service agents Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) and his partner Dot Woods (Catherine Keener). Tipping to Silvia’s Ku konnection, Tobin – mired in his own operatic circumstances – can only wonder if Silvia is a victim or a ko-konspirator in the assassination scheme.

Besides being saddled with a ridiculous – and more than faintly racist – script, Kidman and Penn are forced to deliver a laughable stew of potboiler dialogue – Kidman’s lines delivered in a curiously manufactured “Matoban” accent that comes and goes at random. Penn’s Keller is provided with a maudlin backstory about a tragic marriage and a wife (“a dancer”) who has left him for another dancer. Choking up as he tells Silvia that his wife was killed – on the eve of her return to him – when the other man drove their car into a bridge abutment, Keller sums up, with an expression on his face of pure anguish, “Great dancer. Terrible driver.”

Perhaps the most cheated of all is the terrific Catherine Keener, who is relegated to a part that amounts to barely a walk-on. Still, that she manages to all but steal the show with her wry delivery of the movie’s one great line (“Now that’s just rude!”) is almost payback enough for director Sydney Pollack’s arrogant padding of his own role from what should have been a Hitchcockian cameo to what amounted in the end to the level of third billing.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11930&reviewer=376
originally posted: 04/22/05 00:15:41
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User Comments

6/26/18 morris campbell good movie 4 stars
12/04/11 Pamela White Good intellectual thriller 4 stars
5/10/11 Chris. Poor acting, poor storytelling, too long, why do people like this 2 stars
11/23/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
3/16/08 mr.mike Has all the nail-biting suspense of....an episode of "Hunter". 2 stars
12/16/07 Jason Boring. 1 stars
1/31/07 Matt Kidman is horribly miscast in an implausible movie. Nothing here worth giving a shit about 2 stars
8/07/06 missy Le Peaux riveting 5 stars
6/21/06 drydock54321 just ok . 3 stars
4/14/06 Steve Newman Excellent film - really enjoyable Apr 06 5 stars
2/03/06 Indrid Cold Plenty of attention to the humanity of it all, but it isn't thrilling, or even interesting. 3 stars
1/03/06 Piz far fetched and wacky but kept my interest 4 stars
12/25/05 R.W.Welch It ain't Manchurian Candidate, but a pro piece of work overall. 4 stars
11/26/05 KCobain Really bad and way too long. 2 stars
10/21/05 Phil M. Aficionado Despite Penn, any occasional brushes with reality are strictly coincidental 3 stars
10/19/05 Agent Sands Another anticipated big event that's forgotten completely. Keener is a highlight. 4 stars
10/11/05 ad cheesy, unconvincing and not innovative at all 2 stars
10/09/05 Monday Morning Slow & boring. Another nail in Hollywood's coffin. Many TV shows now surpass movies. 2 stars
7/25/05 Tim Kidman and Penn have NOOOO chemistry 2 stars
7/05/05 Frances Smeath Slowness and boredom is sometimes in beholders not in what they behold. 5 stars
6/29/05 Mark Murphy great thriller 4 stars
6/18/05 aldo Talk...Talk...talk....Talk....Talk.....Bang...Talk...talk...talk...Zzzz..zzz 1 stars
6/10/05 Captain Craig No Academy Award here, but entertaining.You will like it better if you get in half price! 3 stars
6/06/05 Helen Bradley Very slow paced, Kidman and Penn while good actors have some poor dialogue to work through 1 stars
5/14/05 jcjs ho hum especiall after 'Kingdom of Heaven' 3 stars
5/12/05 Mark Thomas Painfully nauseating with horrendous racial overtones 1 stars
5/09/05 Carol It was okay 3 stars
5/08/05 jeff set ur alarm clock for 2:08 1 stars
5/01/05 Heather edge of seat thriller but watch out for plot holes 5 stars
4/30/05 alandala about as exciting and fun as watching grass grow 1 stars
4/27/05 Titus That makes two watchable movies for the year. Good, but not special. 4 stars
4/26/05 brody more ass taste than the olive garden 1 stars
4/25/05 Jeff Anderson A very intelligent & gripping thriller. Penn, Kidman & Keener(my favorite) are OUTSTANDING! 5 stars
4/24/05 Obi Wan Wow, best Thriller in a very long time. Actually had me at the edge of my seat! 5 stars
4/22/05 Sergio Better than Pollack's later films, but it ain't no The Yakuza 3 stars
4/19/05 Philip Buckley-Mellor Better than average story/direction/acting, but excellent photography and editing 4 stars
4/18/05 John Bale Sophisticated political thriller in the Hitchcock mold, with significance in the real world 4 stars
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  22-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2005



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