More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.98%
Worth A Look46.51%
Average: 29.07%
Pretty Bad: 9.3%
Total Crap: 8.14%

8 reviews, 38 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Home Sweet Home by Jay Seaver

Dynasty by Jay Seaver

Touch (2021) by Erik Childress

Mortal Kombat (2021) by Lybarger

Mortal Kombat (2021) by Peter Sobczynski

Nobody (2021) by Rob Gonsalves

Minari by Rob Gonsalves

Judas and the Black Messiah by Rob Gonsalves

Father, The by Rob Gonsalves

In the Earth by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Interpreter, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Greg Ursic

"The trailer's better than the film."
3 stars

With decent films an endangered species in 2005, I’ve learned to temper my expectations even more than usual. After seeing the trailers for The Interpreter I was intrigued,especially after learning that they actually got to film in the UN. But it was more than the novelty factor that drew me to the film - helmed by Sydney Pollack, one of the most bankable directors of adult dramas and starring Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, it has the kind of cachet that screams hit. I wanted to believe in this one so bad. When will I learn…

For someone who craves anonymity, working in a high profile job as a UN interpreter is probably not the wisest career choice. But for Sylvia Broome (Nicole Kidman), it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make if she has even a minute chance of affecting change from the inside. Her quiet little life is thrown in to disarray when she overhears an after hours conversation in which two men talk about assassinating a visiting African dignitary. When she reports her concerns to the authorities she finds herself the focus of scrutiny and an unwitting target of the would-be perpetrators. As her carefully constructed world starts to disintegrate, old secrets come back to haunt her.

In order to make Sylvia - an expatriate of the fictional African nation of Matobo – believable, Kidman took it upon herself to master a South African accent (which, according to voice coaches is one of the most to learn), then it with subtle nuances. Given Sylvia’s traumatic life both past and present character, a lesser actress would surely have degenerated into a histrionics, whereas Kidman plays her with a wounded stoicism. Former bad boy Sean Penn, plays Tobin Keller, the special agent assigned to look into Sylvia’s case, and once again demonstrates an uncanny ability to tap into the visceral core of his character. Unlike Sylvia, Tobin wears his heart on his sleeve, exuding a tortured vulnerability. While Kidman and Kidman mine the depths of their characters, the story remains mired in the shallows.

The trailers suggest sophisticated intrigue, but the reality is a story that has been tailored for the sensibilities of the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator). Unless you’re recovering from recent head trauma, you won’t find a single surprise: you know exactly who the villains are, how they plan to execute their crime, what secrets the characters harbor, etc., - I was literally able to mouth large portions of dialogue before the actors spoke. The only thing missing were flashing signs and arrows saying, “villain” or “this is important”. Before you dismiss this as the bitter ramblings of a cynical reviewer, note that the friend I brought to the screening (a cinematic neophyte who has seen exactly 8 films in the past year), was greatly disappointed with the story’s predictability. In addition the pacing was painfully slow, as evidenced by the deafening sound of audience members shifting in their seats.

In spite of glowing performances from both Kidman and Penn, no amount of thespian ability could save The Interpreter, which falls victim to a wafer thin story line, stock villains, and anachronistic social politics. If it weren’t for the star power, you wouldn’t be able to distinguish this exercise in mediocrity from a TBS movie of the week. In fact you may want to wait until they pick it up.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/23/05 16:39:53
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

6/26/18 morris campbell good movie 4 stars
12/05/11 Pamela White Good intellectual thriller 4 stars
5/11/11 Chris. Poor acting, poor storytelling, too long, why do people like this 2 stars
11/24/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
3/17/08 mr.mike Has all the nail-biting suspense 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
6/22/06 drydock54321 just ok . 3 stars
4/15/06 Steve Newman Excellent film - really enjoyable Apr 06 5 stars
2/04/06 Indrid Cold Plenty of attention to the humanity of it all, but it isn't thrilling, or even interesting. 3 stars
1/04/06 Piz far fetched and wacky but kept my interest 4 stars
12/26/05 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
10/20/05 Agent Sands Another anticipated big event that's forgotten completely. Keener is a highlight. 4 stars
10/12/05 ad cheesy, unconvincing and not innovative at all 2 stars
10/10/05 Monday Morning Slow & boring. Another nail in Hollywood's coffin. Many TV shows now surpass movies. 2 stars
7/26/05 Tim Kidman and Penn have NOOOO chemistry 2 stars
7/06/05 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 1 stars
6/11/05 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
5/15/05 jcjs ho hum especiall after 'Kingdom of Heaven' 3 stars
5/13/05 Mark Thomas Painfully nauseating with horrendous racial overtones 1 stars
5/10/05 Carol It was okay 3 stars
5/09/05 jeff set ur alarm clock for 2:08 1 stars
5/02/05 Heather edge of seat thriller but watch out for plot holes 5 stars
5/01/05 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
4/25/05 Obi Wan Wow, best Thriller in a very long time. Actually had me at the edge of my seat! 5 stars
4/23/05 Sergio Better than Pollack's later films, but it ain't no The Yakuza 3 stars
4/20/05 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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  22-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast