"The Interpreter": Some Thoughts
The Interpreter doesn't harbor any pretensions about being anything more than a geopolitical thriller, and that's to its benefit. What it does settle for is taut, smart moviemaking, buoyed by excellent performances from the preternaturally humorless Sean Penn (who is Jude Law again?) and the preternaturally beautiful Nicole Kidman.
As Silvia Broome, Kidman is a United Nations interpreter who stumbles upon a whispered conversation in which two men speaking in a foreign tongue conspire to kill the despot of an African nation when he addresses the UN's General Assembly. Penn is an investigating Secret Service agent who finds himself more suspicious of the interpreter's hidden past.
The Interpreter is hardly without flaw. Its plotline is coherent but complicated, and the script has too much backstory for its own good; both Kidman and Penn have overwrought monologues that probably attracted them to the project, but should have been cut somewhere along the way.
Still, this is entertaining, old-school, big-star stuff. And while director Sydney Pollack won't make you forget Hitchcock, the flick does boast at least one bravura set piece -- a nifty bit of suspense aboard a city bus -- and a nicely rounded script that even finds room for a bit of progressive propaganda lauding the UN. Cheers.