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Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
Local opening date: 8/17/2007
Reviewed by Martha K. Baker

Oh, to find a film that isn't predictable, that is intelligent, that applauds good writing and trophy-winning acting. And that film is Interview. Surely, the strongest hand nudging this one along is Steve Buscemi's. He stars, he directed, and he co-wrote the film with Theodor Holman, and the result is controlled ambiguity.

Buscemi plays the part of Pierre Peders, a news reporter, who's lost his credibility with his editor and has been pulled out of the Washington bureau to interview a fluffy blond, named Katya. But before the two begin the interview process, each appears in another scene, so they show their truer selves before they put on the masks of their professions.

Katya is late for the interview, late by an hour, which Pierre finds horribly unprofessional. Then he proceeds to indicate loudly and clearly that he has not prepared for this interview, that he has no respect for Katya's body of work, mostly horror movies with "kill" and "body" in the titles as well as soap opera work. She walks out on the interview, but when he hurts himself, she invites him to her loft to continue the interview. Both apologize for acting unprofessionally and promise to be better. They are even honest about her entertaining millions and millions of people as an actress versus his entertaining, oh, dozens as a writer.

The rest of the film follows the two in perfect dialogue as they dance, skate, bob, weave, manipulate, finagle and prevaricate to each other. The only thing that is trustworthy is the sense that neither is honest. But they seem to be, sometimes, as they answer each other's questions about how they came to be where they are. But are they telling the truth? When will they get down to just Peter and Katie from Pierre and Katya? Their sparring is not the glib dialogue of Hepburn and Tracy. It's darker molasses

Buscemi is wonderful, under his own direction. He appears downright handsome at times, not scary, which makes him more so. Let's face it, with a beard and lipstick on his liver lips over those crooked teeth, the Buscemi face fits crooks better than romantic leads. But, here, he actually pulls off the essence of romance and even sexiness as well as paternal piety.

He is perfectly matched by Sienna Miller. Whew! She acts within acts. As the actress Katya, she can cry on cue; as the interviewee Katya, she cries, too, but is she acting?

Although the film is largely the dialogue between these two, the supporting cast includes Buscemi's brother playing Pierre's brother, and the co-writer as well as the political pundit David Schecter. Interview is really just a family picture. Movies like "Interview" don't come along often. This one must be seen.

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