‘Interpreter’ translates to this year’s thriller

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By Johnathan Kroncke

By Johnathan Kroncke

Murderous politicians, terrorist bombings, lying witnesses… and a love story, just to spice things up.

With all of this, Hollywood’s newest box-office hit “The Interpreter” still manages to leave audiences flat where it really counts, the end. Nicole Kidman stars as Silvia Broome, a seemingly down-to-earth interpreter with a violent past working at the United Nations in New York.

One night, after an evacuation, Broome returns to her translation booth to retrieve her bag when she happens to overhear a conversation between two men in a foreign language, one that only she and maybe eight other people in the country can understand.

After revealing to U.N. security that the men she overheard were planning an assassination, Broome meets up with Tobin Keller, played by Sean Penn. At first it seems that Keller is there to protect Broome, but it quickly becomes evident that he is there for the sole purpose of investigating her as well as her claim.

Interestingly enough, while “The Interpreter” centers on a profession where thoughts and messages must be translated with precise accuracy, there seemed to be a great deal of confusion and mistrust, especially between Broome and Keller. It is always fun to pick out the strange dichotomies in films.

At first, Keller is the standoffish type, not getting too close to anyone around him. Well, losing your wife in a car accident only two weeks prior will do that to a man. However, after investigating further into Broome’s dark past, Keller begins to show signs of emotion and even a unique fondness for her. Despite the fact that she may be lying to him as well as hiding key aspects about her life, Keller displays a real sense of caring when dealing with his newest potential suspect.

Despite the occasional wisecrack here and there, the film takes on a general feel of intense drama and emotional pain.

From the death of Broome’s brother to Keller’s lost wife, and even a terrorist bombing that claimed the life of one of Keller’s partners, the characters must deal with one bout of heartache after another.

While a well-acted and well-produced movie, “The Interpreter” flopped where many films have recently. In the same way as in “Collateral,” this is a strong movie with an interesting storyline that is driven by powerful characters, but falls short at the end.

Penn comes across as a man with an extremely tough outer layer but inside, his feelings of depression and self-pity are eating him away bit by bit. Keller is more often than not the most interesting and compelling character on the screen.

Of course, this is not to take away from the incredible acting skills of Kidman who can play just about anyone with any look and any manner of speech. It is because of this that she is one of the few women in the movie industry who can carry a film by herself.

Director Sydney Pollack has certainly made better films in his day, namely “The Firm” and “Tootsie.” However, “The Interpreter” is no second-rate flick, either. The sense of anxiety and suspense that Pollack creates by mixing an assassination plot with an untrustworthy witness is enough to pull audiences right off of their seats. Unfortunately, they drop straight to the ground as does the plot at the end of the film.

Although the rest of the movie is tense and keeps the viewer involved in every step of the story, the resolution to a nearly perfect build up is disappointing. There were some other elements that could have been changed as well, such as the distracting and unnecessary love angle that was thrown in. However, aside from the ending and few other minor glitches, this movie is well worth the price of admission.

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