Taut, gripping and intelligent, The Interpreter works very well as intended - a political thriller. Looking at the premise and plot, the film could have been handled much clumsier than it actually was. Sean Penn puts his down-on-his-luck everyman charm to good use, but a great character seems a little wasted on Nicole Kidman. Her accent falters and she's all but very stiff, but it's nothing that cripples the film. The movie balances some far-out political conspiracies with a convincing look at the inner workings behind the security at the United Nations General Assembly, and it does help immensely that it was actually shot on-location at the UN. The film is very effective at both a macro and micro level; the international politics and personal emotional drama both carry to same amount of narrative weight. The late director Pollack is smart with his scenes and shots, and the film works best at pulling the audience along for the ride, and spinning a yarn so involving that the loopholes seem negligible.