Monday, May 16, 2005

The Interpreter

In a Nutshell: Eh. It was okay. Rent it if you really feel the need, but I found it neither overly political nor overly thrilling. Wasn't it supposed to be a political thriller? It wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. It was just... there.

Quick Plot: A UN interpreter overhears an assassination plot after hours being discussed in a language that only she and a few other people speak. The Secret Service is finding it difficult to believe her, especially considering that she is less than forthcoming about various aspects of her possible involvement.

In Detail: I really thought this film had potential. I love the psychological Hitchcock-type thrillers, and I felt this one had a good chance, particularly given the setting (the UN), the director (Sydney Pollack), and the leads (Kidman and Penn). It had all the right pieces, they just didn't work for some reason. I'm not quite sure how the whole can add up to be less than the sum of its parts, but it did. I think they tried very hard to be politically correct, which took out any possible political punch of this self-styled political thriller. Fine by me, though, as I'm not a very political person, and I rarely enjoy those types of films. But, I also felt that Nicole Kidman came off very cold, which didn't allow me to connect with her or, ultimately, feel much concern for her. Hard to get worked up about the fate of someone you don't care about. Same for Sean Penn; I didn't really care about his character either, no matter how tragic they tried to make him. There was also no chemistry between them, so even the possible tension aspect was lost, in spite of attempts to allude to it. I think that was ultimately the main problem with the film: I just didn't care about any of the characters. It was also a very slowly paced film. Now, this in and of itself is not bad, but combined with little action, flat characters, and a plot that tried too hard not to offend, I was left simply *watching* the film, without really being engaged on any level, and even being rather bored in places. I can't really even say that it's worth seeing. I just found it quite blah. As I said, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't good.

Will I Buy It? No.