SMOOTH FLOW: The Interpreter.
Director: Sydney Pollack
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn
Storyline: An interpreter overhears an assassination plot being hatched within the UN and this puts her in danger.
Bottomline: A must-see film.
As a critic one is always afraid of getting so involved in a film that one may miss its flaws. Sydney Pollack's latest offering, "The Interpreter," now playing in Chennai, put one in such a dilemma. But a day after watching the movie, essentially a thriller that tries hard to pass off as political, one found nothing to complain about. "The Interpreter" is scripted so tightly that editor William Steinkamp must have found it sheer joy to be at the table. This is not to pay him any less credit for finally turning out a film that is so well edited that a viewer finds it extremely easy to follow the story. There are occasions in "The Interpreter" when three or four or even five scenes unfold one after the other, with each following a different thread, and yet when Steinkamp gets us back to the first or the second follow-up, there is absolutely no confusion. The flow of narrative is amazingly smooth. If "The Interpreter" is a must see for this, there are other reasons as well.
Pollack is also the first director to have got permission to shoot inside the United Nations building in New York, a privilege denied even to a master such as Alfred Hitchcock.
"The Interpreter's" director of photography, Darius Khondji, has given us some great visuals of the General Assembly and other areas of this hallowed structure.
When Silvia, an interpreter in the U.N., tells Tobin Keller (played remarkably well by Sean Penn) that she passionately believes in the ideals and goals of the U.N., he smirks.
Assigned to investigate her life and later to protect her, Tobin is a U.S. Secret Service agent, whose suspicion of and distrust for Silvia gradually turn into sympathy and fondness.
This sub-plot is handled with extreme sensitivity, and so restrained is Pollack when he directs scenes involving Nicole and Sean that a great degree of authenticity is achieved.
Nicole and Sean offer fine performances as their relationship endures an assassination attempt of an African head of State, political conspiracy, personal losses, and so on.
Both Silvia and Tobin are grappling with tragedies, and Pollack's "The Interpreter" narrates a story of disappointment and distrust that ultimately give way to understanding and tenderness.
Nicole certainly adds one more feather to her long list of achievements, and Sean with his sense of detachment is a pleasure to watch. It is a gripping work by Pollack.
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