The Interpreter

The desert haze of Matobo, Africa holds the graves of many wrongful deaths by the hands of leader Dr. Edmond Zuwanie and his terrorist rebels. The blood shed by the hands of his believers and those that trust him have ignited fury and rage in those affected. Zuwanie has avoided conviction, causing Matobon peoples to pick up guns. The end to this long lived fight relies on a U.N. interpreter from Matobo who overhears Zuwanie’s assassination threat in a language few know.

Sydney Pollack has continuously produced films with stunning cinematography and acting, such as Academy Award nominated “Cold Mountain” (2003) and “Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999). As the director of “The Interpreter” he chose a script that is written with such precise language that when he translates it onto film, you can almost taste the ground and smell the air. In one scene, Matobon boys show two men an area where dead bodies have been stashed in a soccer arena; the dark, mildew shadows and glistening floor around the bodies releases a putrid scent that can be smelled from the big screen. Beautiful, streaming long shots of New York City mix with stunning close ups of Sean Penn’s powerful demeanor and Nicole Kidman’s rough, scared appearance.

Since his days of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982) as stoner Spicoli, Penn has developed a firm character in Tobin Keller that shows maturity, a dark past, and a misty present. He’s an actor that proves to age well. He had amazing performances in “21 Grams” (2003) and “Mystic River” (2003), and is surely to not be overlooked for his performance in this film. Of course, Kidman rarely lets a viewer down. Her soft exterior is a façade for the rebellious past Silvia Bloome covets. Catherine Keener plays Dot Woods, a secret service agent whose strong, sturdy rationale is good for crime solving, and compassionate enough to support her partner, Keller.

I was surprised to find that the several trailers concerning “The Interpreter” told me nothing of the complexity and intelligence of this story, nor did it explain Pollack’s deeper compassion for humanity and the African peoples. Writers Martin Stellman and Brian Ward build tension between the interpreter Bloome and her investigator and protector secret service agent Keller. Their parallel lives create an affective dynamic that is unadulterated. Stellman and Ward ingeniously mix irony with thrill and humor. They intrepidly place the threat, the threatened, the conspirators, and the protectors together in one scene like placing a man in a cage of lions. They weave an intricate web of conspiracy and crime with an ending that gently pulls the truth from the sticky threads of secrets and lies.

Undoubtedly, “The Interpreter” is potentially this summer’s blockbuster winner. It leaves behind silly, meaningless humor that means to deaden the mind. Rather, it’s a true pabulum; intellectual nourishment for lovers of the thriller.


Anonymous me said...

brilliant writing risa!

5:16 PM  

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