Directed by Sydney Pollack. USA. 2005.

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Nicole Kidman is the Interpreter. After overhearing an assassination plot in the UN building after hours, she is on the run. The only problem is that Sean Penn, the mourning, grieving, workaholic protection officer doesnít 
believe her. Ok thatís not the only problem: the baddies are trying to kill our Nicole as well and Seany boy isnít there to protect her after all! 

The acting is great. At times it seems that Kidman really is from Matobo Ė her strange French/English/Ku(?) accent really could be from an imaginary country. Penn seems to have perfected the troubled, grieving man after playing Jimmy Markum (Mystic River) and Samuel Bicke (The Assassination of Richard Nixon), not to mention 21 Gramsí Paul Rivers. 

Things get complicated though, when Kidman begins acting on her own agenda, and it appears that she may not have always been as perfectly chilled as she is now. The Interpreter does get a bit preachy at times with its (thinly) veiled resemblance to current political issues. The twists however, which take place regularly, ensure that this film is a Hollywood thriller all the way Ė as well as keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. There are some great scenes, including a stunning birdís-eye shot of New York City at night. (I feel like Iíve seen it a million times before but somehow this one was so atmospheric!) The chase sequence leading up to the bus scene injects a tangible tension into the theatre. We know that something must be going wrong but we havenít yet worked out what. Itís edgy, scary, nail-biting and absolutely wonderful.

Whatís best about an intelligent thriller like The Interpreter is that if you watch closely enough there are inserted clues and hints which can make you feel very clever indeed at the end. Whatís worst about a thriller like 
this is the need to always inject a tear-jerking moral moment to hammer the point home, as if it hadnít already been drilled into our brains! Nonetheless, a clever, twisty film with the two ĎItí actors of the moment.

Shari Last
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