great expectations

Posted: 05/10/2005 in film

I have a tendency to get over excited when I watch a film that I have been eagerly anticipating. This can result in bitter disappointment. Vanilla Sky and Taking Lives had me clawing out my eyes Oedipus style. But, I can report that The Interpreter and Kingdom of Heaven surpassed my lofty expectations.

Sydney Pollack‘s The Interpreter is an engaging grown-up thriller. Leisurely paced, but you still need to concentrate. Nicole Kidman is on form with a pitch perfect South African accent, and Sean Penn is just the right side of scary and intense. The usually vampish Catherine Keener leads a strong supporting crew. Kidman, as the translator, overhears a conversation in a foreign tongue that threatens an assignation on UN soil. When the investigation delves into the lives of those implicated, it is the translators who is most dubious. There is the standard misdirection, tense and an almost love interest, but all in all it is a classy slick production.

Ridley Scott has always, in my mind, been synonymous with epic. Whether it be commercials, the low budget Duelist or his latest work, his films evolve and are visually stunning. Each offering surpasses the last. Kingdom of Heaven is a bipolar, it is as sumptuous and intoxicating as it is brutal and horrific. All I know about the Crusades is that they were bloody and bad things happened in Sherwood Forrest when Richard the Lion-Heart split for the Holy Lands. It is refreshing to have the Christians chanting “Death to the infidel”, and a balanced portrayal of Islam. Plus, Doctor Bashir was very seductive (I think it is time to start watching DS9 from season one!).

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