A new film by British director Guy Ritchie "The Translator" has been released in Russia. The plot of the action movie with elements of a thriller revolves around Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal), who with his squad is looking for points of production of explosive devices of the Taliban *. In the prologue of the tape, the shooter and the translator are killed by an IED explosion and Kinley is forced to accept new fighters. One of them is an Afghan named Ahmed (Dar Salim), who speaks several languages. Already in the "interview" scene, Richie demonstrates the arrogant and dismissive attitude of Americans towards mercenaries - in every remark, in the tone and facial expressions of Kinley, superiority is read.
Moreover, in the course of the development of the plot, the director repeatedly emphasizes the reluctance of Americans to listen to the opinion of the translator, thus focusing on the complete lack of understanding and even the desire to understand where they are and with whom they are dealing.
At first glance, there is nothing of the "classic Richie" in "The Translator" - there is crime in the tape, but as a background, there is no branded humor, and the overall tone of the narrative is more dramatic than dashing. Of the more or less familiar techniques - except for the soundtrack, which seems to run counter to the nature of the story, which is especially noticeable in the entrance scenes. But behind this screen, the director hides a whole heap of nuances that can be safely called the bitter post-irony that permeates the entire film. Even the rock 'n' roll at the beginning of "The Translator" hints at the same attitude of Americans to what is happening. For them, this is not a war, but a safari, where they are the main hunters.
The skirmishes in the tape are staged at a consistently high level, but also not without a kind of irony: on the one hand, the American "supermen" recklessly mow down the emphatically stupid Taliban, rushing in a crowd to machine gun bursts. On the other hand, neither cool equipment, nor skills, nor self-confidence save them from Kalashnikov bullets, although the ratio of losses in the end does not speak in favor of the militants: having destroyed five or six peacekeepers, they lose about 40 people and several cars.
The director specifically emphasizes that there are no unequivocally "good" or "bad" guys in the conflict (except, perhaps, militants), placing many accents: the methods of "work" of Americans with locals (bribery, threats), support or vice versa, condemnation of the Taliban by the Afghans, the relationship of the population with peacekeepers - all this creates a whole picture in which only Ahmed looks like a conditional "knight in shining armor".
Salim's character motives are rather vague: at first, he claims that he is working with the Americans because of the money and the possibility of relocation to the United States, which the military promises to the mercenary contingent. Subsequently, it turns out that there is also a deeper desire for revenge: extremists executed the hero's son. But at the same time, there are several serious inconsistencies in the actions of the character, which are not explained in the course of the plot. However, much is compensated by Salim's acting: he is as convincing as possible, authentic and, it seems, simply created for this role.
- Shot from the filming of the film "The Translator"
- © STX Films/Keystone Press Agency
Gyllenhaal's character, on the other hand, is quite understandable and, to some extent, even formulaic. Sergeant John Kinley is a kind of collective image of a completely typical American soldier, full of complacency before the first serious problem that provokes PTSD, multiplied by pangs of conscience and the final decision to save Private Ahmed. Although it is due not so much to the desire to help (which also takes place), but to a deal with one's own conscience, which the character speaks about directly.
Gyllenhaal is organic in his image at the beginning and end of the film, but he showed a rather mediocre stress transformation and emotional experiences: it seems that the actor is overly dramatizing and, as a result, overplaying.
Kinley's relationship with his wife (Emily Beech) looks bland, dull and faceless, which can be mainly seen in the dialogues: exaggeratedly pretentious, completely stereotyped and as if inserted into the tape for show or for greater contrast with the relationship between Ahmed and his wife, much more humane and understandable to the viewer - and this despite the fact that the Afghan couple has much less screen time and dialogues, than the American one.
A lot of injections from Richie were received by American bureaucrats, judging by the film, the same all over the world: scenes with Kinley's attempts to find out the fate of visas for Ahmed's family are the only ones that cause an understanding smile from anyone who tried to solve such issues over the phone. However, the social subtext of the picture in fact turns out to be much deeper than just ridiculing the three-hour hanging on the line: first, the director gives the audience information about the huge deadlines for preparing documents, and at the end of the tape he gives statistics on how many local translators were executed along with their families, without waiting for the promised relocation.
The finale of the tape is another injection, but this time at the American military machine. In addition to the sad statistics, the credits tell the story of the withdrawal of the peacekeeping contingent from Afghanistan and state that the Taliban regained power over the country within a little over three months. Thus, regardless of the story of Kinley and Ahmed, in the finale of "The Interpreter" Richie asks the viewer the main question - about the meaning of the 20-year war.
Summing up, it is worth noting that Richie's action movie with elements of thriller, drama and social overtones turned out rather than not. Although individual scenes, dialogues, and sometimes the motives of the characters raise questions, in general, the film "The Translator" is interesting to watch, and even more exciting is to unwind the layers of meanings and hidden irony embedded in it by the director.