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Interview - Review


Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

SELF-destructive war journalist Pierre Peders (Steve Buscemi) is less than impressed when he’s asked to interview America’s most famous soap star Katya (Sienna Miller) in New York on the same night that a big political story breaks in Washington.

The two immediately dislike each other and terminate the interview until circumstances force them to spend more time together and they gradually get to know each other. Over the course of the evening, their confrontation evolves into a passionate verbal chase game during which it’s not always clear who holds the upper hand.

Interview is an American remake of a film by Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by a religious fundamentalist angered by the portrayal of Islam in his short film Submission Part 1.

It had always been Theo’s intention to remake three of his films for an American audience and talks had begun with a view to realising this dream. Following his tragic demise, his producers carried out that wish and met with Steve Buscemi, a fan of van Gogh’s, who subsequently agreed to co-write, direct and co-star in the first of the American versions.

The ensuing film is a sharp, occasionally witty, but ultimately disappointing exploration of media and celebrity obsession that struggles to escape the feeling it would work better on the stage.

Sienna Miller is perfectly cast as the tabloid-friendly Katya, while very few actors do jaded and cynical like Buscemi (as Pierre). Both set about their roles with relish but are ultimately defeated by a screenplay that offers very little for audiences to connect with emotionally.

The film starts well, as the two leads meet in a restaurant and proceed to rub each other up the wrong way until one storms off in a huff. But once the two find themselves back at Katya’s apartment, there’s a growing sense that proceedings are being padded out ahead of the big finale.

When it arrives, the revelations fail to carry the impact you might expect and a certain amount of ambiguity surrounds the film’s ultimate intents – whether to highlight the emptiness of celebrity, to cast doubt over the integrity of journalism, or to place a different spin on the battle between the sexes.

Certainly, both characters prove themselves to be morally dubious creations whose shallow existence proves extremely difficult to engage with or care about. It’s this as much as anything that proves Interview’s undoing and which ultimately makes it feel like a pretentious night at the movies.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 83mins