Wednesday, December 26, 2012


(April 2005, U.S.)

This political thriller was the last film to be directed by Sydney Pollack. It's also the first film to ever be granted full on location access to the United Nations Building in New York City. Security, obviously, must've been a real bitch!

Though I haven't always enjoyed everything she's done on film, Nicole Kidman is, indeed, a gifted actress and playing the role of Silvia Broome, an interpreter for the U.N. caught up in a political mystery with all the danger and intrigue that would go with it seems appropriately right up her alley. It's by circumstance and coincidence that she just happens to be in the U.N. Building late one night when she overhears whispered voices plotting to assassinate the President of Matobo, a fictional country in Africa, right on the assembly floor of the famed building. Now she's witness (well, she HEARD it, didn't see it), but she's also a suspect, given her position, her tragic family history and her political past, which is slowly revealed when U.S. Secret Service agent Tobin Keller (played by the always brooding Sean Penn) is assigned to the case. Tobin is a man serious about his job and protecting American soil, but he's also a man dealing with recently afflicted personal pain, his wife having just died in a car accident. He, like Silvia, understands the pain and rage of loosing people we love and the burning desire to inflict some form of vengeance in order to move on. The attempted lesson taught in this film is that the act of vengeance will inevitably prolong the process of grief and sorrow to the victim. Maybe so, but I can certain speak for myself that revenge is very likely a sweet dish when your loved ones are the victims of other people's acts.

I'm always the first to point out obvious elements of cliche in just about any film and I'm happy to report that Penn and Kidman's characters do NOT fall in love in this film. It could be easily predictable, but given their positions, their recent family losses and their need political justices, falling for each other would be highly unnecessary. I'd also add that the final resolution of assassination is given an interesting twist in that what we've actually witness is an intended "almost assassination" in which the intended target is risen to the sympathetic position of a martyr of sorts in which he's almost killed and enjoys the convenience of surviving the act in order to enjoy its rewards, whatever they may be.

THE INTERPRETER is a film that is, thankfully, shot completely on location in New York City and in the U.N. Building. To attempt physical forgery in any of the locations and shots would have been an extremem injustice to a film that works not only politically, but with performance, as well.

Sydney Pollack was a director who made some very worthwhile films, including THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975), TOOTSIE (1982) and THE FIRM (1993). He was also a talented actor who occassionally appeared in his own films as well as others by Woody Allen (HUSBANDS AND WIVES) and the late Stanley Kubrick (EYES WIDE SHUT). I'll miss him.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Silvia Broome: "Countries have gone to war because they misinterpreted one another."

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