Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Interpreter


One element of this film is the Third World dictator who began as a man of the people and, over the years, turned into someone as bad as or worse than the man he replaced. Lee pointed out that it’s such a sad and common story. You can find dozens of examples. Woody Allen poked fun at it in Bananas, when the “Liberator” makes his first speech and promptly goes whacko with power: “All citizens will change their onnerwear every hour. Onnerwear will be worn on the outside, so we can check.” I’m not going to get into the plot, but the movie has a bit in common with that phenomenon. It starts out as a cracking good thriller, Hitchcockian, and goes along well for quite a long time. Then it bogs down and loses its pacing, which is so critical to a movie like this. It alternates between scenes that move so fast you have a hard time keeping up with the complicated plot, and scenes that really drag. Especially at the end. So many thrillers do that. Directors drag out the last scenes and all suspense is lost. I had expected better from Sydney Pollack. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it. The situation and dialogue and stars are smart and believable, apart from one rather large coincidence at the beginning without which we’d have had no story. Best of all are the location shots at the United Nations, the first time a movie has been made there. But I shouldn’t have been yawning at the end.