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Awesome: 6.98%
Worth A Look46.51%
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8 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Interpreter, The
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by Chris Wilson

"A well made thriller with global politics on its mind."
4 stars

Some may complain about its implausibilities; others may call it pretentious. I say The Interpreter is one of the few intelligent, well constructed thrillers to come out in years. The film takes important current socio-political issues and uses them as a backdrop for a tight suspense story.

The film stars Nicole Kidman as a UN interpreter who overhears a plot to assassinate the president of a fictional African nation. This once progressive leader has turned to ruthless dictatorship, culminating in the current genocide of his own people. An opening scene shows the chilling current state of the country. Young boys are hired out as mercenary killers and a soccer stadium is a graveyard for those who oppose the government. The assassination plot may be an effort to oust the once beloved president or it could be a ploy to distract attention from the brutal slaughter. A secret service agent (Sean Penn) is assigned to investigate. He finds there is something deeper going on with both the assassination plot and the woman who uncovered it.

Assassination suspense movies are fairly common. Some are well made (In the Line of Fire) while others are atrocious (The Jackal). What makes The Interpreter work is how much it concentrates on the character motivations and the situations they encounter. There are very few action sequences and no real chase scenes. This makes for a very lean thriller. Some might even say it lacks thrills. But where it grabbed me was the detail in its sequences. Stake out scenes and UN assemblies were so meticulously created that I never once lost the film, even though there were a few slips of plausibility. I also appreciated that the story avoided a distracting love story, though the two main characters share a connection in the loss of loved ones. At several points, the writing seems to even hint at a romance angle but then is immediately abandoned, almost as if theyíre winking at the audience.

Acting was very competent, though Sean Penn may have been too much for his role. The back-story of a recent death gave him some scenes to push his emotional overacting but made me also question if he should have even been working. I think the government gives more than two weeks to mourn before putting you back on high profile assassination cases! Nicole Kidmanís accent was a little spotty but that never distracted me. I only wish she could have borrowed some of Pennís intensity for a few of her scenes. Luckily, dialogue was very well written, helping to lighten the mood and keep the pace going with the lack of screeching tires and flying bullets.

What really elevated this thriller was the backdrop of current social issues. The effectiveness of international governing bodies is put into question and the very real occurrence of mass genocide around the world is brought up. I only wish these questions would have been better explored but they end up taking a back-seat to the fiction and suspense of the film. Hotel Rwanda would be a better place to see those avenues investigated.

Snappy dialogue, attention to detail and nightly news relevance all add up to a very enjoyable film. If you need romance, explosions and gun fights to hold your attention, consider looking elsewhere. But if you like seeing a little political awareness in your thrillers, The Interpreter could be just the movie youíve been looking for.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11930&reviewer=400
originally posted: 04/23/05 14:49:42
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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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