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The Interpreter

Malek Allari | Editor-In-Chief


The Interpreter is a great example of a tense and suspicious movie. Not only does it keep the audience on the edge of their seat the entire movie, but it has a great storytelling aspect to it through lights and acting. It is a movie packed with emotion, action, mysteries, and tension between an interpreter, Silvia Broome (Nicole Kidman), and a Secret Service agent, Tobin Keller (Sean Penn), after Silvia overhears a conversation at the UN to assassinate the president of the Republic of Matobo, who is to come and give a speech of why he is doing the things he has done for his country.

The great aspect of storytelling of the story starts with a scene in which it solves a mystery later in the story to one of the main characters; moreover, as the audience knows the entire time, the character does not know and can only hope.

After the opening scene, the story sets in the main setting of the entire film, along with the main characters whose stories are told. Now, the occasion of why the story is being told in the story is mentioned is that the president of the Republic of Matobo. However, the audience later discovers that another occasion is when Silvia wants to bring peace to the world by interpreting live speeches to UN officials. The film is also packed with linguistic aspects on how language and interpretation sometimes cause wars and that it is important for someone to use the same exact word they mean. For example, the word “gone” could mean either “dead” or “went,” and it is the job of the Interpreter and the speaker to say the word “dead” if they mean “dead” and “gone” when they mean “went.”

When it comes to lighting, the producers and directors did a great job of having most of the film at night or in a dimly light room. Not only did it create tension throughout the film, but it also helped the audience live through the fear that Silvia experienced as she was being chased by the assassins. As for the scenes when light or action was happening during the day, the tension and suspicion were created by the dialogue and the character position throughout the story.

As for the acting, Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn did a great job embodying the characters and the situation they were living through. They delivered every dialogue, action, and emotion perfectly.

The tension started to grow when Silvia and Keller had their first meeting, and they were talking about how language use could change the entire meaning of a phrase. As Keller was questioning Silvia and telling her that she would not be under his “protection” but rather the president of the Republic of Matobo, she gave him his contact card and left, saying that she would not need someone who didn’t believe her and would not protect her. After that, Keller tells his partner, Dot Woods (Catherine Keener), that Silvia is a liar. From there, the story’s tension picked up and kept rising, for there were scenes of the assassins going after Silvia and everyone who was supposed to help her.

As the film is a great tense and suspicious story, it was produced professionally but fell a little bit short of being called a masterpiece.

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