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The Interpreter (2005)



Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 192
Fresh: 108 | Rotten: 84

A polished and intelligent thriller, though marred by plot implausibilities.


Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 18

A polished and intelligent thriller, though marred by plot implausibilities.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 78,862

My Rating

Movie Info

Escalating events begin when African-born U.N. translator Silvia Broome alleges that she has overheard a death threat against an African head of state, spoken in a rare dialect few people other than Silvia can understand. With the words "The Teacher will never leave this room alive," in an instant, Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a hunted target of the killers. Placed under the protection of federal agent Tobin Keller, Silvia's world only grows more nightmarish. As Keller digs

Oct 4, 2005


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All Critics (196) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (108) | Rotten (84) | DVD (36)

Penn is terrific in his low-key doggedness.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is largely a competent, successful thriller, but observing global politics from this perspective is an uncomfortable, frustrating experience.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's themes are disappointingly vague and unspecific, built around a fictitious African country that stands for anywhere -- and consequently nowhere.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club | Comment (1)
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I was steadily absorbed by The Interpreter, even though much of the plot didn't make a great deal of sense.

April 28, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While it pains me to beat up on Pollack, who, in addition to being a consistently wonderful actor, is at least attempting to make movies the old-fashioned way, it pains me more to actually sit through his movies.

April 23, 2005 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a straight-ahead thriller, the movie is enjoyable and stirring much of the time.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a character drama about dealing with violence and loss, The Interpreter is a quiet success. Unfortunately, it's a thriller, and all of the qualities that make it a successful character study rob it of the tension a thriller needs to succeed.

March 27, 2011 Full Review Source:

Much ballyhooed for its on-location filming in and around the United Nations building in Manhattan "The Interpreter" works better as a captivating drama than it does as an espionage thriller due to some sticking plot points that prevent the audience from

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source:

It's a dumb movie masquerading as smart but failing miserably.

May 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

High-class to a fault, and well-cast in every supporting role ... nevertheless burns with a very low flame.

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source:

It may not be a perfect film, but it's just nice to see a master at work.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Now we know actors are just that, but it's a little hard to suspend disbelief and buy Sean as a government agent out to foil an assassination plot, when just a few months ago he was out to assassinate Richard Nixon on screen.

June 2, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

The problem with all this sneaking around is that it is rarely ever all that suspenseful.

September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

Solid, mature and finely acted, but intermittently daft.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Not a great movie but a nice time and a welcome break from the season's nonstop torrent of interchangeable horror films and Ashton Kutcher comedies.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Nothing about The Interpreter strikes us as very original.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A tense, satisfying thriller.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

a film that made their authors feel good, while denying the same experience to the audience

October 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Draxblog Movie Reviews

The complicated plotting gets increasingly ridiculous as the picture nears conclusion.

October 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Reno Gazette-Journal

Intriguing, gripping, suspenseful...

August 28, 2005 Full Review Source:

(...) Una película menor, con buenas intenciones pero que se olvida poco después de salir del cine.

August 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Another international accent from Kidman, another brooding, broken man from Penn, and another taut, tense, political thriller from director Pollack.

July 21, 2005 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Interpreter

Kidman and Penn are good actors but the script is a bit limited, especially in terms of characterization, and it just leaves you thinking that this could've been so much better than what it was. Good thriller.
July 16, 2012

Super Reviewer

Tobin Keller: I'd rather make the mistake of believing her, than the bigger one of not. 

"The truth needs no translation"

Despite liking both Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn(both of whom give good performances), I was left underwhelmed when The Interpreter was all said and done. For the most part, it was really just a dull drama with some thriller elements tossed in here and there. It never had me on the edge of my seat like it could have.

It's not technically a horrible movie, but I really found no joy in it. Other then the leads; the film doesn't really have any redeemable qualities. It's really dialogue heavy which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the dialogue leaves a lot to be desired. 

There are a few really interesting scenes, but as a whole the movie never really comes together. It doesn't flow at a good pace. It's slow, slower and then slowest and then for a three minute stretch it will pick up the pace. Then it will go back to it's snail crawl. I'm okay with slow films if they have good characters, dialogue and situations. This movie has one interesting character(Kidman's, Penn's character was lifeless, although he did play him well), bad dialogue and two or three cool situations. I really wish this would have turned out different with the people involved. But I guess I can just go watch one of Penn's or Kidman's countless great movies.
August 3, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

A disastrous film that tries to be more complex than it should be, each time coming up with more unnecessary details at the expense of simple concision. The obvious, predictable narrative suffers from terrible dialogue and gets lost amid contrivances, implausible situations and plot holes the size of Africa.
February 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

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