Interview [1998]

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 Miller's 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

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