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The Interpreter (2005)

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Political intrigue and deception unfold inside the United Nations, where a U.S. Secret Service agent is assigned to investigate an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rory Robb
Ajene Xola (as Curtiss I'Cook)
Jean Gamba


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexual content and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

22 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La intérprete  »


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,589,829 (United Kingdom), 17 April 2005, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,822,455, 24 April 2005, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sean Penn was originally not interested in doing this film after an overloaded work load that spanned several years that included an Oscar win for Mystic River and wanted to spend time with his then wife, Robin Wright and his family. He later took the role after being convinced by Director Sydney Pollack. This is the reason why he looks so tired and exhausted in moments throughout the film. See more »


When a visitor (even an employee) re-enters a secure facility like the United Nations after hours on an unscheduled visit, they are always escorted and the visit is logged in. The facility wouldn't be secure if this didn't occur. See more »


[first lines]
Simon Broome: She wouldn't tell me her husband's name. She wouldn't even write it.
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Featured in A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters (2005) See more »


F Stop Blues
Performed by Jack Johnson
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Limited
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User Reviews

A thinking person's thriller
19 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

Entry to the United Nations headquarters in New York (and being directed by Sydney Pollack) was enough to make Nicole Kidman sign up for this enjoyable, if not a little formulaic, political thriller. Hollywood's golden girl teams up with man of the moment Sean Penn in this well-paced and intense tale which unfolds against a backdrop of international terror and unashamedly draws parallels with the current political situation in Zimbabwe. Kidman adopts a satisfactory South African accent for the role of Silvia Broome, a UN interpreter who overhears a plot to assassinate a controversial African leader during his visit to the United States. Penn is Tobin Keller, a Secret Service agent assigned to investigate Silvia's claims and protect her from the assassins. But is Silvia telling the truth? Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a target for the killers but a suspicious Kellar digs deeper into her past in a bid to find out what she is hiding. Pollack (who has a small part in the movie) scored a massive coup when he convinced Kofi Annan to allow filming inside the UN building for the first time. Even Alfred Hitchcock had to improvise when making the classic Cary Grant North By North West. The movie has some very strong opening scenes, shot on location in South Africa, and instantly grabs our attention. When the action moves to New York, Pollack (who brought us Tootsie, Out Of Africa and The Firm) creates an old-whorled vibe with grainy shots more reminiscent of the 70s, deliberately avoiding the neon lights of the Big Apple to create a dulled-down mood that sits much better with the film's content. Kidman and Penn handle their material well, putting in solid performances and the pair square up nicely on screen. Predictably, and annoyingly so, however, a chemistry develops between the two making for some scenes which would have been better left on the cutting room floor. Let's face it, the old adage of two strangers being brought together by circumstance and suddenly being able to open up and shed their baggage has all been done before. The moral of the story is also a little bit too Hollywood. We can admire its good intentions and even buy into the idea that we can change the world with words and diplomacy but it all becomes a bit nonsensical. But it is the movies after all and it's difficult to find fault with Pollack who has opted for a dialect-driven film as opposed to high-octane action scenes - although they do make a welcome appearance as the film reaches its climax. This is the thinking person's thriller and it's definitely worth a viewing.

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