Friday, June 17, 2005

The Interpreter Rankles

Watched The Interpreter tonight. Before going into what I don't like about the movie - a brief synopsis: Kidman is Silvia Broome, working at the UN in NYC. Sean Penn is Tobin Keller, a Secret Service agent that protects foreign dignitaries. An african dictator accused of genocide is coming to NYC to make a speech at the UN Security Council, and Kidman overhears a plot to kill him. Movie starts.

Overall, it wasn't half bad. It started well, then got right into the middle of it. Character development of the main duo was good. It had the ambience of a slow European mystery, with a cop who has personal issues (always), a victim who is not all that she appears (and blonde - always), and a bunch of criminals, the head of whom is the one the hero has to protect. All-in-all, a good mix for a good movie.

Unfortunately there are several flaws. First, the dialogue. Some of the conversations between Kidman and Penns ' characters are downright cheesy.

"Why do you guys who carry guns always act like cowboys?"

Moreover, at one stage, everyone in Africa is introduced as either black or white. They seemed to have forgotten that brown people played big roles in Africa's history as well. Gandhi of India was originally from South Africa. Many of South Africa's, Kenya's, Tanzania's movers and shakers are of Indian or South Asian origin.

Then there's the characters. Penn's assistant (his colleague/partner) is more like his secretary. She has hardly a role in the movie. *BIG SPOILER ALERT* Nicole we find out is heavily involved in African politics. She IS African. She was even a rebel. Her brother still is. What nonsense. We are supposed to believe that just because her parents were killed in an African accident, her brother and she took up arms and joined the black militia. Um.. they were white. And not just white, blondes. Fighting alongside the very people taken advantage of by whites in Africa. And they comrades accepted them! And she was the rebel leader's lover!

Many times during the movie Nicole says she joined the UN because it's the only thing she thinks works in Africa, and she wants to help. Um... hullo! You are just a lowly interpreter (in fact one person in the movie even tells her that, then everyone seems to forget she said that). What do you think she will do for the UN?

Overall, it's a 6/10 movie, and takes a long time to get to the ending. The Interpreter looks nice and the acting is terrific, but that's just on the surface. Could-have-been-but-was-not an absorbing thriller. Ultimately forgettable.

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