April 29 - May 5, 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 17

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The Interpreter
—A Movie Which has a lot to Explain

by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists

Sydney Pollack has actually produced more hits than he's directed. But moviegoers, with The Interpreter, Pollack as the executive producer and director once again comes through with shining colors! To add to the realism and scope of this film, Sydney (or Sid as we like to call him), convinced Secretary General Kofi Annan to let him use the United Nations headquarters on weekends, including the Security Council, lobby, conference rooms and gardens. (Hey, Maven, does that mean we are not safe or protected on the weekends if those rooms are not being used)? (Blonde as you are…No! I think you are referring to the Pentagon). Not even Hitchcock had the privilege of using them for his picture, North by Northwest!  

Sylvia Broome, REGALLY portrayed by Nicole Kidman (Dogville and The Stepford Wives), is an interpreter at the United Nations. Unfortunately, she overhears what sounds like the planning of an assassination of Ziwanie, an African dictator played by Earl Cameron (villain in James Bond’s Thunderball). Sylvia reports what she hears to the Secret Service and naturally expects to be believed. (Don't we all?) Enter Tobin Keller… a rather gloomy, hard case, federal agent starring Sean Penn (Mystic River, 21 Grams and Madonna's ex-husband). Keller has his doubts as to her motive, even though a polygraph shows her to be truthful, but under stress (Well, aren't we all?). The lovely Sylvia grew up in Motobo under Zuwanie's rule. A supporter of his, Sylvia became quite disillusioned with his rule when she saw her parents killed. (Well, who wouldn’t?) Agent Keller and his partner Dot Woods, played by Catherine Keener (The Ballad of Jack and Rose and wife of the HUNKY Dermot Mulroney), are assigned to protect and investigate Sylvia.

Pollack, as he does in most of his films, has a small role as the head of the Secret Service. With The Interpreter, he doesn't overindulge in action and fire play. Instead, he used violence to keep the air heavy with the threat and stages scenes so they seethe with tension. He also doesn't bog us down with a useless romance, as there is never enough time for it with all the action the characters experience. (Why not, though! The rest of us have to squeeze romance into our hectic days!). Check out this film for yourselves, and find out all the interpretations first-hand.

The Blonde: It is a pleasure to see a quality movie, as it feels like it has been so long. The Interpreter was like Three Days of the Condor meets Day of the Jackal meets Witness. To begin with, Maven, it was fascinating for me when they spoke in that African language. I actually was able to understand every word.

The Maven: Okay, to begin with, Blonde, NO YOU DIDN'T because they made the language up for this movie. It was simply JIBERISH!

The Blonde:  Oh, okay then, no wonder I was able to understand every word!  It was fun to see Nicole not have to lose her accent completely for a film. The South African accent is closer to her own. I have to say, when she started her acting career, I thought she was an ice queen and I didn't really enjoy her all! Through the years, she has proven me dead wrong and is a brilliant actress and a true Hollywood star. She is spectacular in every role she takes on, whether it be a serious drama or a comedy. Nicole simply displays truth and honesty in her eyes alone!

The Maven: It wasn't until the film was over that I realized most of the violence was hinted at rather than actually shown. Except for the bus scene, there were no loud explosions or pyrotechnics. An intelligent, political, complex script with some terrific actors, very little special effects and NO SEX.  

The Blonde: You can always spot a Sydney Pollack film just by the intelligent script and the pacing. The bus scene and the after-effects you referred to were incredibly realistic. This film not only displayed wonderful acting, but super directing, exciting editing, great set direction and creative designs. To change the topic a bit… is it me or did Nicole look particularly gorgeous?

The Maven: It was the blonde wig.

The Blonde: I KNEW THAT WASN'T HER REAL HAIR! I thought it looked like extensions. Moving right along, I LOVED Sean Penn AND his character in this picture. He was kind, protective, caring and gentle. It was a please seeing him play a serious, yet passive, role. He usually plays an over-the-top, enraged, angry character. I also loved him in Sam I Am. He is such a breathtaking and underestimated actor.

The Maven: I think you are mixing up Dr. Seuss with Sean Penn in the film I Am Sam! Catherine Keener added much needed spice in her too few scenes. Her effortless sarcasm was refreshing. I always wondered what drew a gorgeous guy like Dermot to marry such a plain-looking woman. Did you know that, for years, she has been best friends with Brad Pitt?

The Blonde: Yes, of course I knew, Brad told me. Maven, I don't know this for sure but I think Brad is leaving me for Angelina Jolie. But why, I ask you, why? And…I don't see what the adorable Dermot (My Best Friend’s Wedding) sees in Catherine. As far as her role in this film, she did nothing for me. She actually just blended in. If you want to see REAL sarcasm, speak with my daughter! She owns sarcasm. Maven, Nicole is so SKINNY! Do you think she eats AT ALL? I don't think she has EVER tasted sugar!

The Maven: NUH-AUH! I can tell you first-hand that she shares MY passion for Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. However, she hides it better than I do!

The Blonde: I'm glad you said it and not me. Anyway…skinny or not, she's so pretty. Nicole even looked great with her face all cut up and bloody.  (Ladies, Clinique has a great cover-up for this sort of thing).

The Maven: I agree about Nicole's beauty, that is. Blonde, I hear James Caan is getting a divorce.

The Blonde: Oh, who is he divorcing?
The Maven: His wife!

The Blonde: Very funny.

The Maven: The Interpreter will appeal to men and women alike. The subject matter is very current, what with the political mayhem surrounding the U.S. and the United Nations as well as the genocide that's REALLY taking place in South Africa. I rate it a B for best intelligent, political, thriller of the year so far.

The Blonde: I agree with all your above statements. I would like to rate it higher because I thoroughly enjoyed this picture. It was exciting, interesting, realistic, and keeps the viewers attention. However, I too rate The Interpreter a B.

For your snacking pleasure, I recommend Life Savers to go with the theme of the picture. Enjoy!
P.S. Movie-goers: A few upcoming movies to look for are Must Love Dogs and The Perfect Man. (WHERE? WHERE? WHERE IS HE?).

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