out of Five
Running time: 83
Stagey but enjoyable drama with superb performances from its two leads.
What's it all about?
Initially conceived as a way of honouring the legacy of murdered Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh (who originated the project), Interview stars Steve Buscemi as self-destructive political journalist Pierre Peders, whose star has fallen so low that he's reduced to interviewing popular soap actress-slash-It Girl Katya (Sienna Miller). Angry and resentful, Pierre doesn't bother to watch her films or do any research and when she turns up late for their interview in a restaurant his snarky comments quickly turn a bad situation worse, causing Katya to storm out.
However, an incident in the street leads to Katya taking Pierre up to her nearby loft apartment, where they resume the interview and gradually learn more about each other, revealing more and more personal details in the process. But are they telling the whole truth?
As a director, Buscemi gets a career-best performance out of Miller, whose character is often painfully close to the tabloid image audiences have of Miller herself (i.e. someone who's more famous for their tabloid appearances and celebrity liaisons than for their artistic endeavours). Buscemi is equally good and his reactions to Katya and her erratic behaviour are entirely convincing.
A two-hander like this stands or falls on the quality of the script and fortunately, the dialogue is excellent. The entire film is essentially a tense game of verbal cat-and-mouse, with each character trying to establish power over the other and there are several surprising twists scattered throughout.
At a crisp 83 minutes long, Interview doesn't get a chance to outstay its welcome, but that doesn't stop an element of staginess from creeping in before the end. It's also fair to say that the characters paradoxically become less likable as the movie goes on, meaning that by the end, you're not really rooting for either of them anymore.
Interview is worth seeing for great performances by Miller and Buscemi but it's not quite as clever or as emotionally engaging as it thinks it is.