After directing three films and an Emmy-winning episode of The Sopranos
, Steve Buscemi turned to Holland--specifically to the work of Theo van Gogh. Before his 2004 murder by an Islamic extremist, the Dutch filmmaker (and Vincent van Gogh descendent) was planning an English-language version of his 2003 Interview
--even considering Madonna for the Katja Schuurman role. In Buscemi's reconfiguration, the actor plays jaded journalist Pierre. Once a war correspondent, he now takes any gig he can get. When his editor assigns him an interview with tabloid fixture Katya (Sienna Miller
, doing her finest work to date), Pierre grudgingly acquiesces. Their first meeting in a restaurant is a bust. But through a chance second encounter, they continue their verbal volly in her roomy Manhattan loft, where Pierre discovers that Katya is sharper than her image suggests, and she learns about his tragic past. They flirt, fight, kiss, and cry. By the end it becomes clear that one of them isn't being completely honest. As an acting exercise, Interview
gets the job done, and Millers American accent is especially convincing. As a story, it's less satisfying, not because of the minimal cast or stage-like setting--My Dinner With André
made a virtue out of similar limitations--but because the opponents aren't evenly matched. They're also less agreeable than Louis Malle's dining companions. Interview
is first in a trio of van Gogh adaptations, with Stanley Tucci attached to Blind Date
and John Turturro to 1-900
. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
The plot of actor/director Steve Buscemi's Interview
is devilishly simple: a political journalist (Buscemi) is sent on a clearly beneath-him assignment to meet an attractive B-list soap star celebrity (Sienna Miller). He makes a mess of the interview, but winds up at her Manhattan loft apartment following an unfortunate car accident. Thus begins an intriguing two-character plot arc in which the mismatched couple argue, drink, snort cocaine, argue some more, and ultimately find some common ground as they both loosen up and reveal some secrets.
Buscemi's film is a remake of deceased Dutch director Theo Van Gogh's 2003 movie of the same name, and the director throws in a few neat references to the original, even aping Van Gogh's predilection for shooting on three cameras. Miller fits perfectly into the role of a disgruntled celebrity who can't contain her anger at the press, while Buscemi delivers an acting master class as the full-of-himself intellectual whose conversation is fuelled by a haughty toleration for his sparring partner. Interview
is a lengthy conversation piece that probably has more in common with an off-Broadway play than it does with any of Buscemi's filmmaking contemporaries, but it works, thanks to Buscemi's impressive direction and the superior source material, both of which provide plenty of scope for the two leads to flex their skills.