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No more self-indulgent than any other talky drama, Interview still delivers the entertainment.


Considering the premise is just two people talking, Interview is a fairly dynamic story. It begins with Pierre Peters (Steve Buscemi) sitting in a restaurant waiting for an interview with new "it" girl Katya (Sienna Miller). He'd rather be covering politics, but his editor wants a celebrity piece. Katya comes in an hour late, blatantly inconsiderate because, hey, she can do whatever she wants. When he starts to push her buttons a little too hard, she walks out on the interview. But then, as a twist of fate, Katya ends up saving Pierre from a minor automobile accident as he is heading home--and invites him back to her nearby apartment to apply some first-aid. They mutually apologize to one another, but then Pierre tries to continue the interview. She flirtatiously toys with him, while he manipulatively provokes her--until both are revealing deeply personal details of their lives.


If Interview starred Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, it might be a summer blockbuster. But with Buscemi and Miller, its immediately labeled an art film. No matter. Buscemi is in top form as the worldly reporter not impressed by celebrity or beauty. He walks a fine line between putting Katya in her place and being a jerk, getting in his zingers but also showing a bit of his heart. Buscemi is a pro at making his sleazy guys appealing and even, dare we say, more sympathetic. Miller gets to show all her sides. She's adorable as the pampered celebrity. We know it's rude to be late, but how else do stars get away with it except by disarming the world with their charm? Then she's downright erotic in the seductive moments. Even though you know she's putting him on, you want to believe it--like a lap dance customer at a strip club. And when she freaks out, it's all the rage in the world bursting forth.


Small, intimate character pieces tend to feel staged. As director, Steve Buscemi uses a handful of tricks to keep it visually cinematic without feeling gimmicky, as he remakes the late Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's film. Changing the locations a few times helps to make it feel like there is a world outside this apartment where the main action takes place. Within the apartment, the characters roam from room to room, wherever the location best suits the phase of their conversation. At one point, Katya and Pierre watch separate televisions—he's following a news story he'd rather be covering, she's watching her own TV show—which creates a visual dynamic. There is also a video camera so Katya can shoot Pierre or vice versa. Cutting to a view-screen point of view is not necessarily aesthetically pleasing, but it helps change the stage. Aside from all of this, there are no visual tricks that call attention to themselves. He's not wrapping the camera around the actors every five minutes. He lets the shots rest on the performers so we can see what they're doing. Best of all, Buscemi keeps it short and tight. At 80 minutes, it feels like a full evening's journey.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.