The interpreter

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German title The interpreter
Original title The interpreter
Country of production UK
original language English , French
Publishing year 2005
length 128 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 12
Director Sydney Pollack
script Martin Stellman ,
Brian Ward
Charles Randolph ,
Scott Frank ,
Steven Zaillian
production Tim Bevan ,
Eric Fellner ,
Michael F. Steele ,
Kevin Misher
music James Newton Howard
camera Darius Khondji
cut William Steinkamp

The Interpreter is a thriller by Sydney Pollack from the year 2005 . Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn can be seen in the leading roles .


Silvia Broome is an interpreter at the United Nations in New York . She happened to overhear a conversation about the planned assassination of the head of state of the (fictional) South African state Matobo Dr. Zuwanie is leaving, who will soon address the United Nations General Assembly. Zuwanie was initially celebrated as the country's liberator, but gradually turned into an oppressor and murderer. He is threatened with a trial before the International Criminal Court .

Broome reports the event and the Secret Service is switched on. Secret Service agent Tobin Keller distrusts her when he discovers that Broome grew up in Matobo and that most of her family were killed in a mine laid by Zuwanie's regime. When Broome is threatened by the people she overheard, Keller slowly gains confidence in her.

A bomb attack in a public bus kills a political opponent Zuwanie and a colleague from Keller. Broome left the bus shortly before and survived the attack. After it turns out that her brother was killed in an assassination attempt on Zuwanie's other political opponent and a friend died by suicide, Broome told Agent Keller over the phone that he wanted to return "home". The main task of the Secret Service and Keller is now to protect Zuwanie during his stay in New York.

While Zuwanie is giving his speech, his security chief shoots the alleged assassin. The whole thing was just a staged deception: An HIV- infected person was paid by Zuwanie's security chief to shoot the head of state. However, there was no live ammunition in the weapon. The chief of security should prevent the alleged attack at the last second by shooting the assassin. By surviving an assassination attempt, Zuwanie could have justified the world his crackdown on alleged terrorists, and he could possibly have escaped trial.

Silvia Broome has been hiding in the shelter of the UN building for several hours before the alleged attack and is waiting to be able to conquer Zuwanie, who was trapped there after the attack for protection. She threatens him with his weapon and confronts him with the book about the victory of diplomacy over violence, which he wrote when he was still considered the great liberator of Matobos. Keller arrives and convinces her to put the gun down. Broome is then expelled from the United States. The UN Security Council decides to hand Zuwanie over to the International Criminal Court.


Catherine Keener won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award in 2005 .

The German Film and Media Evaluation FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the title valuable.


  • The then Secretary General of the United Nations , Kofi Annan , gave permission for filming to take place for the first time inside the headquarters of the United Nations, including in the General Assembly hall. Sydney Pollack was able to convince Annan that the film "stands for diplomacy and against violence".
  • In addition to the land of Matobo, the dialect “Ku” used in the film is also an invention for the film. It was created by Said el-Gheithy and is based on the Bantu languages spoken in East and South Africa.
  • For her role, Nicole Kidman learned to play the flute and drive a Vespa.
  • Director Sydney Pollack can be seen in a supporting role as boss of Sean Penn aka Tobin Keller.
  • Pollack already used the sentence "You probably think that you will not be caught with a lie is the same as telling the truth" in The Three Days of the Condor from 1975.


“Political thriller with outstanding actors, which, however, lags behind earlier films by Sydney Pollack (about The Three Days of Condor ) in terms of staging . The plot is deliberately involved, but then dissolves into a banal ending, so that the opportunity to sound out the political explosiveness of the subject remains unused. The love story also only develops half-heartedly. "

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for the interpreter . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , March 2005 (PDF; test number: 101 907 K).
  2. Age rating for the interpreter . Youth Media Commission .
  3. The interpreter. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed September 10, 2013 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used