Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #315 The Interpreter

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2011 at 12:57 AM

Movie #315 The Interpreter

(2002, US, d. Sydney Pollack)

Sydney Pollack has made a lot of great movies in his day, but unfortunately this is not one of them. I’m not saying this film is bad; it just dances along the line of ‘decent’ and ‘uninteresting’ so well, it’s hard to tell the difference. And frankly, I don’t want to analyze whether or not I thought it was barely decent at all. It’s not worth it. First off, despite the electrifying opening (or how it must have been read on paper), Pollack never translates tension well to the screen. The opening scene – set in Africa and depicting a few unexpected murderers by employees of a country’s tyrant – is just dull. A scene like that is supposed to rivet the audience and want them demanding an answer to the mystery, but here it just sort of serves the purpose of boring exposition. It makes the audience feel lazy almost. As if we know we are going to get answers so we never really care to hurry anything up. Part of this is due to Pollack’s ever-slowing camera, which doesn’t help in most tense scenes – save a few. The camera is contemplative, thoughtful – the wrong thought process for a movie supposed to be an action/political thriller. Then we have Nicole Kidman, who comes off just as boring as her profession is: translating an African dialect into English at the UN. Stuff like this should be interesting. Pollack is able to gain access to a rare world captured on screen, but it’s just plain boring. Even veteran Sean Penn does little to light up the screen as the mopey detective investigating Kidman’s character. The plot lines are simple – I wouldn’t say predictable, but they do tread so overly treaded paths. It’s not a particularly terrible film; it just isn’t that good.


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