Thursday, November 03, 2005


Now out on DVD:

THE INTERPRETER (Dir. Sydney Pollack)

This came out last summer and failed to make a splash. I watched it on DVD this last week and could see why. Not that it is outright horrible just pretty bad. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn (once again humorless as Hell) aren’t convincing as their characters, particularly not with Kidman’s accent or always perfect hair. 

Catherine Keener as Penn’s Secret Service partner has very little to do. There are so many lamely plotted sequences and laughable conveniences that any element of suspense or actual sentiment is in vain. Pity too. Pollack has made a number of fine films, a much better example of a political thriller of his was THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975). 

Honestly though, Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway looked like just like the big name movie stars they were in that too, but they sure sold it better than Penn and Kidman here. Maybe the only thing worth seeing on the DVD is a bonus feature about Pollack's choice of the widescreen format over full frame: "I'm making a plea for my colleagues and myself who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to tell you the story in the best possible way visually and then someone else has to come in and cut the edges off of all of that and pan and scan it so you're not seeing what story we tried to tell you." 

Pollack once brought a lawsuit on a Danish TV station for how they pan and scanned one of his films, "mutilated it" he said. To fight to preserve the full visual imagery of one's art is a pretty cool stance - too bad THE INTERPRETER is not. 

Special Features: Audio Commentary by Director Sydney Pollack, alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurettes: "Sydney Pollack at Work: From Concept to Cutting Room," "Interpreting Pan & Scan vs. Widescreen," "A Day in the Life of Real Interpreters," and "The Ultimate Movie Set: The United Nations."

More later...

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