Steve Buscemi's take on Theo van Gogh anything but a knockoff


on July 13, 2007 by Chad Greene
Breezing into a restaurant an hour late for her interview with reporter Pierre Peders (Steve Buscemi), single-name soap star Katya (Sienna Miller) reaches into her bag at the tell-tale barking of a purse-sized pooch. In that moment, viewers will think they have her pegged as the sort of boozy blonde floozy that inspired the tabloid term “celebutante.” After all, Pierre—in protesting his puff-piece assignment—has already dismissed her as being “more famous for who she sleeps with than anything else.”

But it turns out the barking is actually her cell phone ring tone, hinting at a sly self-awareness that belies Katya's paparazzi-ready public persona. And, despite his insistence that he's a big-time political reporter and war correspondent, Pierre proves such an unprepared and uninterested interviewer that Katya walks out within minutes. “If I were a politician, would you ask me such boring questions?” she groans.

But plenty of people are interested in Katya—not the least of whom Pierre's cabbie, who manages to rear end a moving van while preoccupied with the sidewalk-stalking starlet's…well, rear end. When she sees Pierre bleeding from a bashed forehead in the backseat, Katya compassionately invites him up to her loft, offering him a bag of frozen vegetables for the bump and a glass of scotch for the pain.

That's when their interview—and Interview —really begins, as both reveal an understanding of the essential exchange involved: to be a good interviewer, he must reveal something about himself in order to gain enough of his subject's confidence for her to reveal something about herself. A liquor-lubricated comparison of scars, both physical and psychological, ensues, but both Pierre and Katya are accomplished at lying—especially to, and about, themselves.

Remaking a 2003 original by the slain Dutch director Theo van Gogh, Buscemi has produced a charmingly perplexing portrait that's anything but a knockoff. Working within an almost theatrical setup—basically two actors on a single set—he's crafted a character study that showcases not only his own considerable chops, but also Miller's.
Distributor: Sony Classics
Cast: Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller
Director: Steve Buscemi
Screenwriters: David Schecter and Steve Buscemi
Producers: Bruce Weiss and Gijs van de Westelaken
Genre: Drama
Rating: R for language, including sexual references, and some drug use
Running time: 86 min.
Release date: July 13, 2007 NY/LA
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