What do a call a film that is structurally a thriller,
but has boring characters, a pointless plot and no suspense? Well, you
can call it a 'cash-in' if it has bankable names like...I don't know...Nicole
Kidman or Sean Penn for instance. But how about a 'snoozer'? Yeah, that
seems to fit.
Most of The Interpreter is set in the real United Nations
building, and is about as exciting as that sounds. It's like being dragged
round an important building on a school trip. The teacher struggles to
impress you with all the little historic details, but you're too busy
watching your enthusiasm for life slip away.
Very early on it becomes clear that the plot is fatally
flawed. An idealistic interpreter (Kidman) overhears a plot to bump off
a nasty African dictator - for whom read Robert Mugabe. But if a character
is universally hated then no-one is going to shed a tear if he dies. Anyway,
a weary intelligence officer (Penn) is assigned to the case, despite the
fact that his wife has died and he can't really look after himself properly.
So why this contrived set-up? Well…y'know…they might get together
or something. Spare us.
It's hard to believe that this is the same Nicole Kidman
who has made such brave career choices as The Hours, Birth
and Dogville in the not too distant past. It's even harder to
believe that this is the same Sean Penn who is heroically failing in The
Assassination of Richard Nixon at a cinema near you. Maybe he just
signed up for this snoozer because he needs to finance an exciting, radical
project of his own. Yes, that'll be it.