Image Courtesy of Amazon.com
Nicole Kidman……….Silvia Broome
Sean Penn……….Tobin Keller
Catherine Keener……….Dot Woods
Jesper Christensen……….Nils Lud
On its face value, The Interpreter has much more going for it than it than any movie on paper has for it in 2005. It has two of the best actors in their primes in Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman, a director who specializes in the thriller and the added authenticity of being able to shoot inside the United Nations gives any political thriller an obvious advantage.
Kidman stars as Silvia Broome, an interpreter who overhears what she believes to be a plot against the president of an African country. She is a UN translator, and this is a dialect few people in the world would know.
When she reports it to the proper authorities her life is turned upside down as two federal agents enter her lives: Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) and Dot Woods (Catherine Keener). Keller is recovering from the loss of his wife, dealing with his personal heartache as all of this is going on. As he delves into her world he grows suspicious of her motivations; she appears to be involved in on the assassination she reported. As Keller delves deeper, the threat looms for the President of the African country as well as his. And what starts out as a top rate thriller finishes with a whimper, not a bang.
And for the first 90% of The Interpreter it is just that: a very intriguing political thriller. It is tightly written and involving with quality performances from two of the best in the business in Kidman and Penn. The story is fascinating and doesn’t cease to stop with edge of the seat thrills. It builds up to what should be something more than what it turns out to be.
And that’s the problem with The Interpreter: the ending is lackluster and boring. It takes away a lot from the quality that has been built up over the preceding acts of the movie. It’s a terrible letdown to an otherwise top notch thriller.
Score : 7.5 / 10
Presented in a widescreen format, The Interpreter format, Pollack’s preference for the larger screen is evident. The colors are clean and the picture is clear.
With a Dolby sound, The Interpreter comes through alive and clear. With a score that relies on subtlety to push the envelope, it’s a great transition from the theatre to the home.
The Extras: Audio Commentary – Director Sydney Pollack, Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room, Interpreting Pan & Scan vs. Widescreen, A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters, The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations
Alternate Ending. Not too incredibly different from the ending that is featured on the movie, but just slightly different enough. It doesn’t have the same sort of effect that the original has, so it’s easily understandable why the one chosen for the theatrical one was chosen.
Deleted Scenes are several scenes taken out of the movie for various reasons. It’s easily understandable why they are taken out; they don’t add much back in to the movie and only extrapolate what is assumed.
Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room is a 10 minute retrospective on the movie itself by its director. It touches on Pollack’s motivations for doing the movie, his thoughts about the stars and how he set up various aspects of the movie.
Interpreting Pan & Scan vs. Widescreen is Pollack discussing the differences in filming a movie in Pan & Scan (aka Full Frame) vs. Widescreen. It’s interesting to hear Pollack talk about the differences in the picture, as his theory is about being able to tell a story. Running about five minutes, Pollack talks about the differences in storytelling that are achieved with the ability to tell his story in the entire frame.
A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters is an eight minute featurette featuring Nicole Kidman and actual U.N interpreters about the difference between translation and interpretation. It’s a rather interesting perspective on how their real lives and habits influence their jobs and how interpreting is almost an art form.
The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations is a featurette about how the production crew got to be able to use the U.N and the experiences of actually shooting inside its hallowed halls. It’s an eight minute perspective from the people on the ground as well as Pollack on the majesty of the U.N as a backdrop for a thriller.
Audio Commentary – Director Sydney Pollack
Score : 8.5 / 10