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The Interpreter (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Nicole Kidman , Sean Penn , Sydney Pollack  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener
  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JNQA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Interpreter (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Alternate Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room
  • Interpreting Pan & Scan vs. Widescreen
  • Feature Commentary with Director Sydney Pollack
  • The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations
  • A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters

  • Editorial Reviews

    Product Description

    Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn star in the action-packed thriller, The Interpreter. In one of the hidden corridors of power at United Nations headquarters, translator Silvia Broome (Kidman) overhears a potentially explosive secret about a planned assassination attempt. But when federal agent Tobin Keller (Penn) investigates her claim and digs deeper into Silvia's dangerous past, he begins to question whether she is a victim - or a suspect. From Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack comes the riveting, edge-of-your-seat story of international intrigue that Ebert & Roeper give "Two thumbs up!"

    Additional Features

    An excellent interview with director Sydney Pollack illustrates his intelligent approach of making films. However, the fact the alternate ending was even shot is bewildering. Thank goodness it didn't make the final cut! Pollack makes a passionate plea for keeping the widescreen aspect for home video. Although he enjoys the squarer, full-screen picture, he tells us that panning-and-scanning a widescreen print is disregarding how he shot the film. Oddly enough, Universal released the DVD in both formats. --Doug Thomas

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    "The Interpreter" has the distinction of being the first commercial movie to be filmed inside the United Nations building in New York City. The UN Charter prohibits commercial use of the building, but director Sydney Pollack was able to get permission to film from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the grounds that the film's themes support the UN mission. It helps that "The Interpreter" was able to film on location inside the UN, as that building's huge open spaces and natural light improve the film's aesthetics considerably and would have been impossible to recreate. The premise is that Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman), a simultaneous interpreter at the UN, overhears a conversation about an attempt on the life of Edmond Zuwanie (Earl Cameron), President of the fictional African nation of Matobo, who is scheduled to give a speech before the General Assembly. Secret Service Agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) of the Dignitary Protection Squad, and his partner Agent Woods (Catherine Keener), are assigned to protect Zuwanie and to investigate Silvia's claim. Even when it becomes clear that her life is threatened, Silvia's politics concerning Zuwanie and her involvement in the drama are still suspect.

    Silvia Broome and Tobin Keller are not what I'd call well-written characters, but Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn give them more weight than lesser actors would. Silvia has a bizarre, unidentifiable accent. The character has one British and one white African parent. A South African accent would seem appropriate, but that's not what she has. The Matoban language "Ku", which Silvia translates, was created for the film at the South African Language Institute in London. It is a cross between Swahili, commonly spoken in East Africa, and Shona, a language of Southwestern Africa.
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    87 of 104 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars "The Interpreter" translates very well April 23, 2005
    Verified Purchase
    "The Interpreter" is an excellent movie. Nicole Kidman plays Silvia Broome, an African-born U.N. interpreter who overhears a conversation about a plot to assassinate the dictator of Matobo. Federal agent Tobin Keller (Sean Penn) is then assigned to protect Silvia and crack the case.

    This is a great suspense thriller with an interesting and witty plot. It's also a psychological drama of sorts: Tobin and Silvia are both coping with personal losses while trying to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Kidman and Penn are both amazing Oscar-winning actors, and they turn in amazing performances in this film.

    My favorite thing about "The Interpreter" is that it is the only feature film that has ever been shot on location inside the United Nations. It was great to see the details of these famous and somewhat intimidating government buildings and watch this exciting story unfold. (There are also some really great scenes shot in the streets of New York as well.)

    The only thing that bugged me about this movie was the ending. Silvia kind of flips out at the end of the film, and although she definitely has clear motivation for what she does, I had a hard time buying into the fact that she wigged out to such an extreme, and also that her little speech to the dictator appeared to have such a profound effect on him. The story wraps up pretty nicely at the end, though, so that one little inconsistency can easily be forgiven.

    I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good suspense thriller: good movies are hard to find these days, and "The Interpreter" is definitely one you don't want to miss.
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    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly up for interpretation December 31, 2006
    Format:DVD
    I'm surprised there are so many so-so reviews of this movie - I thought it was really good. The plot was pretty hard to follow at times, but Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn were great, and there were times when the suspense was almost too much to take. The twist at the end was totally unexpected - all along I thought I knew what was going on, and who the bad guy was, but that was completely shattered in the last scenes. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that it was a little long and convoluted - I kept thinking the movie was about to be over with, and then a whole new plotline would come up.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    I think in many directors' hands, "The Interpreter" would be run-of-the-mill stuff. Thankfully, Sydney Pollack isn't run-of-the-mill quality. He's crafted a really suspenseful and - in my mind - realistic thriller that keeps you fully engaged throughout the entire film. [And, I might add, Pollack - as usual - acts here as well and he's as engaging on camera as he is talented behind it.]

    Now, I've never been a big Nicole Kidman fan ("To Die For" aside), and the coquettish whisper in which she delivers every line in this film is certainly distracting. Thankfully, Pollack gets solid performances from Catherine Keener, Sean Pean, George Harris (on a roll after "Layer Cake") and the Danish actor Jesper Christensen. Christensen, in particular, makes the film in my estimation. Is he a good guy or a bad guy, you're never quite sure. [In fact, in the 'Deleted Scenes' on the DVD, you can see Pollack stripped out a couple of scenes that give away some of Christensen's character and motivations too early. That's a master touch because the end product keeps you guessing without losing any of the narrative drive.]

    At the heart of tale woven by Pollack is the story of African dictator 'Zuwanie,' as portrayed by the regal (and then-88-year-old!!) Earl Cameron, a dictator in the Mobutu mold (colonial liberator slowly morphing to repressive, gun-toting dictator). Will he be killed on an upcoming trip to the UN (as Kidman's character has overheard) or will a staged and failed assassination attempt consolidate and strengthen his hand back home (as Harris' 'Kuman-Kuman' suggests)? Again, Pollack's editing is what keeps the balls in the air on this question and it'll keep you hooked until the end.
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