The Interpreter tries hard to be a top-notch drama/thriller, but is let down by poor editing and inadequate direction.
I don’t like Nicole Kidman’s work very much. There… I’ve admitted it. I can’t recall seeing a film I’ve liked her in, which tends to put me off watching more of her work. Disappointing as this is, (her being Australia’s pride and joy and all, even though Cate Blanchett is vastly superior in my opinion), I still had hopes for The Interpreter. The trailer sets the scene of a tense drama, with twists and turns, and the presence of Catherine Keener and Sean Penn also lends it some credibility.
Unfortunately, The Interpreter seems to have been rudder-less. Ambling its way along for 128 minutes, about 30 of which could/should have been cut without substantive damage to the plot or character development, it just never seems to get where it wants to go. Sure, Penn and Kidman are both reasonable, but there is such a lack of intensity and drive, the whole film suffers for it.
My views may also have been coloured by the appalling behaviour of one young person who brought their infant child along to my opening night evening session, and proceeded to allow it to cry, grunt, moan, giggle and make various other distracting and important-moment-ruining noises. I think I would have failed to enjoy this film irrespective, but it is the basic lack of respect for other patrons that I find so hard to tolerate.
Kidman, on the other hand, is tolerable, but displays an accent that wanders from Bondi beach to South Africa, stopping off in New York and London for drinks along the way. A good friend has informed me that she read an interview with Aussie Nic, in which she describes her voice coach trying to find a ‘whole world’ accent, with a mish mash of everything and anything thrown in. That is fine in principle, but in practice it was just distracting. Penn plays the injured hero like he’s done it before… wait, he has, hasn’t he? He and Kidman provide some amusement with their ‘two wounded people finding healing within each other’ routine, but I may have found it more touching were it not so bleeding obvious.
In the end, The Interpreter fails to achieve much of what it sets out to do. It is a reasonable film, but the negatives of its excessive length and poor direction hamper what could have been much more fun.Rating: