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Interview

Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Steve Buscemi never met an unlikable protagonist he didn’t want to play. The role he chose for himself in Interview, which the popular character actor co-wrote and directed based on the original Dutch version by the late Theo van Gogh, doesn’t break that tradition. In fact, Buscemi’s decision to play a sleazy quasi-entertainment journalist willing to sell his soul for a good lead expands his repertoire to show disdain for the very process that popularized his famous performances in the first place. Pissed that he can’t land any consequential politico coverage, Buscemi’s crappy reporter treats his assignment to interview an attractive movie star (Sienna Miller) as an opportunity to bitch about mindless media fluff. Immune to his sarcasm, she bolts from their restaurant meeting and heads home. The ever-goofy Buscemi gets a nasty bump on the head upon taking his leave, and finds himself rescued by the very object of his derision. The scenes that take place at the lavish home of Miller’s character form the bulk of the film. There’s no doubting that the two actors, whose exchanges carry the script to its deceitful ending, generate spectacular chemistry. Their dialogue is curt and pointed, careening from cruel to intimate as a means of exploring their apparent mutual disillusionment. Buscemi’s role is more complicated than anything he’s done since portraying a relentless kidnapper in Fargo, although his own script can’t match the strength of his ability to play a sleazebag member of the media. Miller makes a daunting femme fatale, and her screen presence is actually positively enhanced by her former tabloid notoriety. Familiar with the tricky cadences intended to expose celebrity scandal, she manages to unbuckle her smug interviewer’s muckraking tactics and use them against him. I’ve asked Buscemi if his character’s desperate acts of exploitation serve as a warning for anyone willing to try the ruse on him in real life, and he insists that this is not the case; instead, the reporter’s inexcusably corrupt behavior (stealing notes off of his subject’s laptop, for example) results from his specific psychological fragility. But Interview could easily qualify for a journalism class syllabus—if only because it drives home the importance of not underestimating the intelligence of your subject. Non-journalists are also capable of taking an unfair route to a desired end. As much as the media likes to play the public, the public—be they famous or not—knows how to play the media. Eric Kohn, New York Press
Showtimes: 

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Directed by: 
Steve Buscemi
Running Time: 
84
Country(ies): 
USA
Language: 
English
Starring: 
Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi, Tara Elders and Michael Buscemi
Screenplay by: 
Steve Buscemi & Theodor Holman

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