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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: Interview

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Steve Buscemireally is a minor miracle. As I'm looking through his prolific resume on IMDB, I can't find an instance where I didn't enjoy his work. Sure, he's had his clunkers (Mr. Deeds, Domestic Disturbance) and has even fallen under the dark spell of Voldythingy, er, Michael Bay (Armageddon, The Island), but somehow Buscemi always seems to emerge untainted by the mediocrity surrounding him. And when he gets a great role (here, here, here, here, here), he utterly delivers. In short, you don't find many Steve Buscemi-haters.

Interview is his latest film. It's essentially a cover of Theo Van Gogh's 2003 film of the same name. Buscemi stars as an (ostensibly) serious journalist sent to interview a (presumably) vapid actress portrayed by Sienna Miller. Naturally, their early moments together are a disaster. He insults her over dinner and she storms out of the restaurant in short order. But, of course--it is a movie after all--Providence intervenes. Buscemi gets into a car accident and Miller brings him to her apartment to care for him. It's here that the film really begins.

In simplest terms, Interview is a long conversation between two strangers. In many ways it's reminiscent of Tom Noonan's excellent What Happened Was..., but the tone is considerably more vicious and funny. Buscemi and Miller don't just talk to each other, they attack and manipulate. Buscemi constantly belittles her superficial career as a sex object, while Miller uses that very sex appeal as a weapon against him. He alternately despises her and can't resist her and the feeling, seemingly, is mutual. Or is it? Ah, intrigue follows!

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Of course, I expected Buscemi to find every perfect, nuanced note in this role (and, of course, he does), but Miller is the true revelation. Her Katya is both clever and vacant, coy and aggressive, vulnerable and steely. She is the perfect foil for Buscemi's cynical, weary reporter (and other than Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose, there hasn't been a finer, fuller performance in any film this year). Both Miller and her director, Buscemi, deserve great credit for her casual yet fearless performance.

Praise is also due Buscemi for his choice of material. Interview wasn't Van Gogh's best film, but I like that Buscemi chose a Van Gogh film to introduce to American filmgoers. His story is one of the more tragic in recent memory and his work deserves to be remembered after his death (for those who don't know, Van Gogh was murdered by a Mujihad after directing a film critical of the violence endured by Islamic women). For this reason and the great performances contained within, Interview deserves a large audience. See it today!

Photo courtesy of Shiratski via Flickr