Movie Review – The Interpreter (2005)
When UN translator Sylvia Broome overhears a death threat made against an African leader in a very rare dialect, she is placed under US Secret Service protection led by Tobin Keller. While Keller and Broome try to work and determine whether the threat is real, and where it may be coming from, they realize this might be part of a much larger threat.
This film definitely benefitted from standout acting performances of Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. These two had great chemistry on the screen together and it led to an enjoyable movie from that regard.
The idea of a film based on something a UN interpreter heard in the UN headquarters in New York City was a great concept, and a fresh idea that was enjoyable to see on the screen. This was a great building block to a movie that had drama, action, and thought provoking social commentary on important topics such as violence in the world.
In addition to that, the screenwriters did a great job adding elements to the script that enhanced the themes and added authenticity, from the cultural art and masks in Broome’s house to the details on the African languages that Broome is knowledgeable with.
That all being said, several problems did exist with this film. The first is in complexity. At times, the film’s attempt at touching on many issues and plot points leads to confusion in the plot and where we are going with the story itself. This can be problematic and leave the viewer hanging in some places. The second problem is with length. At times the over 2 hour film did feel like it was dragging a little, and it could have been edited for length. The third problem is in logic with the plot. There are some issues with the plot that just didn’t seem believable to the viewer. For example, when the interpreter Sylvia Broome reports the threat to authorities, they do not take the threat seriously for some time, and rather suspect Broome of making things up for attention or fame. This seems an odd approach to take, when one considers UN leaders likely do receive threats, and it is paramount that they be taken seriously. Examples like that occurred several times in the film, which became frustrating at times.
Overall, the film was an enjoyable and intriguing one to watch, although certainly the film did have components that left the viewer wishing for more at times.
Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.