The Interpreter

Rated PG-13 2005

The first film in six years from director Sydney Pollack would be nothing without that polish -- a shrug of a thriller, a tangle of inexplicable conspiracies upon which you could hang yourself out of sheer boredom. It's about an assassination plot told almost entirely in flashback; everything that happens in the present -- which isn't much -- has to be explained again and again with old tales about past lives, not to explicate the onion-peeling layers of deceit common to political thrillers, but merely to reiterate the numbingly obvious. Ask the simplest questions, and the whole movie falls apart. Only Nicole Kidman, as the United Nations translator who overhears plans to kill a beloved African liberator turned murderous dictator, and Sean Penn, as the skeptical Secret Service agent sent to investigate her claim, keep us interested, emotionally attached to something so facile and hunh?-inducing, you'll wonder only much later how you got suckered into believing two plus two equals six.

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The Interpreter

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