Unfortunately, the suspicion that Silvia might be involved in the plot is never fully exploited. Helmer Sydney Pollack, invoking his CIA thriller "Three Days of the Condor," deftly builds tension, particularly during climactic action sequences, but the film never convinces moviegoers to distrust Silvia. Had they, the twists and turns of the story would have been even more layered and nuanced. Moreover, certain developments are never satisfactorily explained, such as how someone with a past as checkered as Silvia was ever granted access to the U.N. in the first place.
What is most interesting about the film is its setting and how delicately it is portrayed. The first to shoot a movie inside of the U.N. since its erection in Manhattan in 1946, Pollack undertook a diplomatic mission of his own in securing from Secretary-General Kofi Annan the requisite permission, which could have been revoked at any time. Perhaps as a result, "The Interpreter" demonstrates a tangible reverence for what goes on within its walls--but without being didactic. The film portrays words--rather than guns--as possessing the power to instigate world war but also world peace. Starring Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn and Catherine Keener. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Written by Charles Randolph, Scott Frank and Steven Zaillian. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Kevin Misher. A Universal release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexual content and brief strong language. Running time: 128 min