Interview

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis


            “Interview” will make your skin crawl. First there is the sad fact that Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated for planning to make it at all. Then there is the dubious debate in the independent film world of what constitutes “independent” film now that studios throw money at whoever decides to make one. These newly celebrated filmmakers often fight back at that accusation by being as independently ugly as possible. So now there is the vexing question of whether being independent requires a kind of malicious unpleasantness that is often the trademark quality of such movies.

            Pierre (Steve Buscemi)and Katya (Sienna Miller) are both cruel liars, and director Buscemi’s movie is simply 83 minutes of dirty oil dripping out of an upended can. They circle each other until we perceive one as the winner. At that point we carry our well earned resentment into the street. But I rush to judgment.

            As the movie opens, Pierre and Katya are meeting for a dinner interview in an upscale city restaurant. She is late; he is angry. After all, he is Pierre Pedders, successful political correspondent who is summoned now and then as an expert on important panel news shows, one of which is taking place on television at this moment without him during a crisis in Washington. And here he is, waiting in a restaurant for the young celebrity actress of the moment. He is demeaned, diminished, and furious.

            Are there any redeeming features? Some. Sienna Miller is indeed adept at putting her character on equal footing with the nasty Pierre. This is an equal opportunity battle. Katya has earned her celebrity through a series of “beautiful blonde” films including the most recent, a horror movie. It is this last that seems to be the final straw for Pierre’s damaged ego. They leave the restaurant in fury only to end up in her loft after he is involved in a taxi accident. Now in a private space, the gloves are off.

            We get to watch two people getting drunk, then one of them topping it off with cocaine, all while wielding lies as weapons. Quick thinkers, these, they rip the masks off each other quickly only to begin again. Katya and Pierre are narcissistic, self-indulgent, and spoiled rotten. Each battle ends with his leaving or her telling him to get out. For eighty minutes this doesn’t happen; they just settle down to more brawling.

            Steve Buscemi has an extremely unpleasant voice and manner. Sienna Miller is quick witted and good looking and probably a good actress if you can cut through her character. Surrounded by clouds of cigarette smoke, he is a pill popping alcoholic, and she an alcoholic cocaine addict. Miller needs to prove herself in another movie before we can forget this tedious one. These are two thoroughly unpleasant people, and I don’t want to listen to them even if the film world considers them grand independent film actors.
 


Copyright (c) Illusion

Return to Ellis Home Page