Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Interpreter 

We saw The Interpreter this weekend, starring Nicole Kidman as a United Nations interpreter who overhears what appears to be a discussion on the floor of the General Assembly of an assassination plot against the embattled and corrupt head of an African nation, and Sean Penn as a Secret Service agent in the Foreign Dignitary Protection team, who is assigned to investigate her claims. The potential target is scheduled to speak at the UN in the coming days, and Penn's team is assigned to protect him.

I really liked the film. Nicole Kidman was absolutely entrancing. Her character is all about language and communication, and through her we hear greater depth than is normally emphasized in the soundtrack of a feature. Sean Penn's agent is all about the visual, and the cinematography and the focus of the lens reflects his perception. They both are dealing with various tragedies and torments, but we're not beaten over the head with them. Their stories evolve slowly, and not obviously. I personally have great enthusiasm for the mission of the UN, and I enjoyed hearing my feelings stated so passionately and articulately by Nicole Kidman's war weary interpreter.

The Girl found The Interpreter rather difficult to follow at times because of the many background stories that are given time to evolve and coalesce, and I have to agree that it's not an easy tale to follow. But I found that made it more plausible, because what events in life are as easy to predict as the plot of most movies?

As he ages, Sean Penn reminds me more and more of Dustin Hoffman. Nicole Kidman just took my breath away.

Director Sydney Pollack (who also has a small role) spoke in an article today about the privilege of being the first director allowed to film inside the UN. A UN committee initially rejected his request, but he appealed directly to Secretary General Kofi Annan, who eventually granted permission. The UN retained the right to retract that permission and eject the cast and crew from the premises should anything unseemly go on. I think the final project is one the officials won't regret having allowed.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:34 PM