19 November 2014 | rooprect
Soaps, Lies & Videotape
In case you're wondering, this story was not written by "the" Theo Van Gogh (brother of the famous Dutch painter) but his great-grandson who wrote and directed the original "Interview" in 2003 a year before he was shot, stabbed & partially decapitated by a ticked off Muslim extremist who didn't like his movies.
The only reason I'm mentioning this is to illustrate that Theo Van Gogh's films certainly had an effect on people. I haven't seen the original Dutch "Interview", but based on the story re-told here I see the kind of biting wit & satirical finger-pointing that packs a punch. While I seriously doubt anybody will get assassinated over this film, I'm sure it may (good naturedly) ruffle a few feathers in the world of self-important journalism and Hollywood tabloid reporting.
Steve Buscemi plays an arrogant political journalist who is sent on a fluff assignment to interview a soap opera/B-movie celebrity (Sienna Miller). He's rude from the outset, but due to his grandfatherly appearance and self-deprecating, sarcastic wit he has a certain charm that's fun to watch. He's a character we love to hate, and that's what makes this film work.
Sienna Miller is well cast as the starlet known for her love affairs & bust size more than her talent. But she's shown to be intelligent and good natured, so again we quickly become attached to her character even though she is a Hollywood cliché.
What follows, in a very minimalistic, stage like show, is the torrid volley of love-hate banter between these two egos, each seeking to dominate the other. If you like the characters, then you're set for a fun and sometimes suspenseful ride. If you don't like them, well then I can see you becoming bored or annoyed.
Really, though, who doesn't like Steve Buscemi & Sienna Miller? Here they have an interesting chemistry, at times father-daughter, at times more like bickering exes. And always one is trying to one-up the other. In the second half they raise the stakes, building momentum to a big finale which I found very satisfying.
If you're a fan of plays or films made from plays, particularly ones where characters love to antagonize each other like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) or "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), with a somewhat claustrophobic 1-on-1 presentation, then give this playful movie a shot.