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Escalating events begin when U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome alleges that she has overheard a death threat against an African head of state, spoken in a rare dialect few people other than Silvia can understand. With the words "The Teacher will never leave this room alive," in an instant, Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a hunted target of the killers. Placed under the protection of federal agent Tobin Keller, Silvia's world only grows more nightmarish. As Keller digs deeper into his eyewitnesses' past and her secretive world of global connections, the more suspicious he becomes that she herself might be involved in the conspiracy. With every step of the way, he finds more reasons to mistrust her. Is Sylvia a victim? A suspect? Or something else entirely? And can Tobin, coping with his own personal heartache, keep her safe? Though they must depend on one another, Silvia and Tobin couldn't be more different. Silvia's strengths are words, diplomacy and the subtleties of ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The setting of the film inside the UN itself was the big attraction for Sydney Pollack though he didn't like the plot in the first draft of the screenplay. This was substantially altered through rewrites. See more »
The Secret Service would not handle an attempted political assassination at United Nations and provide security. That would be the jurisdiction of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). See more »
She wouldn't tell me her husband's name. She wouldn't even write it.
See more »
Last night, I watched The Interpreter, primarily because I wanted to see if Sydney Pollack still had it and in my humble opinion, he does. I don't see too much film-making like this these days. For one thing, it's slow, but in a good way. Too many suspense films speed by at such an absurd rate that there's never any time for a mood to be built or characters to be known. Here, we get to know the characters intimately and are gradually drawn into the complex and compelling and relevant plot. Speaking of relevance, there is, here, a "message", but it's delivered organically by way of carefully structured storytelling and character development, not with a bullhorn and fireworks. Speaking of characters, I love the understated performances in this film by Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman. I love also the moments in this film, such as when Penn's character in a country-western bar unplugs the jukebox to stop the noise of some country-pop crap then restarts it in order to play Lyle Lovett's wonderful "If I Had a Boat" then goes to a pay phone and calls his own house just to hear his wife's voice on the answering machine.
Also, while I have nothing against fast, action-adventure-cartoon-type violence when it's done just right. The violence in this film isn't exciting. It's just as it should be considering the subject matter. It's sad and desolate and when a man speaks his last words to the child-soldier who has just shot him and when a bus is bombed or a desperate man is betrayed and murdered you feel it, the final moments of human lives; a being being taken away. There's room for sentiment in such films and it doesn't have to be sap as it so often is.
I don't follow entertainment news much these days (much as I'd love to) because such stories and reviews and even trailers (which I also used to love watching) give away far too much of the story (which I'm trying here not to do) so I don't know how this film was received, but I hope it did well and if it didn't, I hope audiences come to discover and love it gradually so that there might be more films like it.
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