The Interpreter (**)

Posted on April 2nd, 2005 in Movie Reviews by EngineerBoy

So, this movie could have been fairly good, if:

  • One of the characters didn’t just simply announce the upcoming key plot twist well before it actually happens.
  • Sean Penn didn’t spend the whole movie trying to act like a taciturn Clint Eastwood.
  • Nicole Kidman’s character (Silvia Broome) had managed to find a barette to keep her damn hair out of her face.
  • Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman had had any actual chemistry.
  • The level of incompetence of the Secret Service wasn’t so unbelievable (e.g. Kidman’s character eludes them when she doesn’t even know she’s being followed!)
  • The writers/directors/producers hadn’t chickened out and added a token white guy to the bad guy’s team.
  • The ending and denouement hadn’t been so trite and hackneyed.

Thankfully, thankfully, thankfully we don’t have to see the two leads lock lips or fall into bed with each other. They exchange some glances that I think are supposed to be smoldering, but looked more to me like two people glaring at each other at a traffic light thinking each was cut off by the other. There is one almost-tender moment where Penn’s character comforts Kidman’s character, but she ends up taking a nap on him (but they don’t sleep together).

But overall this movie is just the same old Hollywood crap. A typical waste of three Oscar winners (Kidman, Penn, and director Sydney Pollack) who are in a story that I bet started out as an interesting script, but was morphed by the Hollywood Frankensteins into “entertainment” instead of leaving it as an actual story. Shame on Sydney Pollack for ending his eight year directorial hiatus and choosing this dreck as his comeback vehicle. Has it gotten so bad in Hollywood that the combined stick of Kidman, Penn, and Pollack can’t save a film from being homogenized, partially hydrogenated, and made shelf-stable? Or did those three simply cash in without worrying about artistic integrity? It’s sad that in today’s Hollywood it’s hard to know the answer to that question.

Anyway, I wasn’t bored by the film, but I was ready for it to be done, and I began forgetting it before I even left the theater. ‘Nuff said.

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