Director Sydney Pollack delivers megawatt star power, high gloss, and political passion to The Interpreter
, his first thriller since The Firm
. With Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn delivering smooth, understated performances, the film more closely recalls Pollack's 1975 Robert Redford/Faye Dunaway paranoid thriller Three Days of the Condor
, trading conspiratorial politicians for potential assassination in the United Nations General Assembly (this being the first film ever granted permission to use actual U.N. locations). Kidman plays a U.N. interpreter who inadvertently overhears hints of a plot to kill the reviled, tyrannical leader of her (fictional) African homeland; Penn is the Secret Service agent assigned to protect her, or to determine her role (if any) in the assassination scenario. By distancing itself from real-life politics, The Interpreter
softens its potential impact as a thriller about contemporary globalization and threats to international peace, but the Penn/Kidman personal drama (between two people who gain a deep appreciation for shared anguish, without being artificially forced into romance) adds a richly human dimension to Pollack's expert handling of the thriller elements of a complex yet easily-followed plot. Indie-film stalwart Catherine Keener shines in her supporting role as Penn's sarcastic by sympathetic Secret Service partner. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Tense political thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Kidman plays Silvia Broome, an interpreter working for the United Nations who overhears what could be a discussion about an assassination attempt on an African head of state. Convinced that the assassins are after her too, she seeks refuge with experienced, no-nonsense federal agent Tobin Keller (Penn). As Keller starts investigating Silvia's past, he becomes more convinced that she is in some way involved with the conspiracy. Locked into an emotional conflict of mutual suspicion, Keller and Silvia must learn to trust each other enough in order to avert an assassination attempt on American soil.