Story in Interpreter hard to understand

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Interpreter is the kind of film that is the perfect example of the effectiveness of star power. Despite a script that at times seems a little too pretentious, The Interpreter benefits from strong work by Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn and a great sequence that is as tense as any in recent memory.

Kidman plays Silvia, an African-born United Nations translator who overhears what she believes to be an assassination plot against an African head of state who is about to speak at the UN to dispute charges of genocide against his people.

After Silvia takes her suspicions to the authorities, the United States begins an investigation headed by Secret Service agent Tobin (Penn).

The more Tobin digs into the potential assassination plot, the more he uncovers about Silvias militant past making her less and less credible as a witness.

Five people were given a credit on either writing the story or the screenplay and at times The Interpreter feels as if it is pulling in several different directions.

Characters are introduced as potential cover-ups or red herrings and a potential relationship that surfaces between Silvia and Tobin just doesnt work. Both characters are given tragic backgrounds to connect them emotionally, but Tobins back story feels like it belongs in another movie.

Solid work from Kidman and Penn who ironically have great chemistry despite the contrived screenplay helps The Interpreter overcome some of its flaws. There is also some nice work from indie-queen Catherine Keener as Tobins partner.

Sydney Pollacks direction also gives The Interpreter a much needed boost. It helps that this is the first movie allowed to shoot inside the U.N. giving The Interpreter a nice feel of authenticity but Pollack delivers two set sequences that gives the film much of its sizzle.

I liked the finale, up until a point where things get wildly melodramatic. The best moments come midway through the film, where several key players converge on a city bus in a sequence so tense and fascinating it takes The Interpreter to another level.

That sequence alone is enough to recommend the film. Sure you can find plenty of problems with The Interpreter, but the film is effective enough that it succeeds anyway.

Discount dud of the week

This weeks discount dud is Constantine (D) the dim-witted adaptation of the popular comic book Hellblazer.

Keanu Reeves stars as Constantine, a supernatural private investigator.

Constantines latest investigation involves the suicide-like death of a woman who may hold the key to unlocking the balance between Heaven and Hell.

Constantine isnt bad, it just suffers from being dreadfully boring. Most of the script consists of speeches explaining too many intricate rules of supernatural battles between good and evil.

Even the cast seems bored. Reeves reverts to his Bill and Ted days, while otherwise talented actors like Rachel Weisz, Djimon Hounsou and Tilda Swinton are wasted.

At times Constantine did have a nice look, but its not like it hasnt been done in better films like The Matrix.

Constantine opens Friday at the Plaza 6, where all movies are $1.50.

Today is sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Comptons birthday. If youd like to send best wishes, or condolences, drop him an e-mail at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.  Daily News ·813 College St. ·PO Box 90012 ·Bowling Green, KY ·42102 ·270-781-1700 

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