Film review: 'Interview' appealing but is no 'Andre'

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2007 12:00 a.m. MDT

INTERVIEW — ** 1/2 — Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi; rated R (vulgarity, profanity, drugs, brief sex, violence)

The give-and-take verbal exchanges in "Interview" aren't nearly as witty as those in "My Dinner With Andre," the 1981 art-house hit that is still the standard-bearer for "conversation" movies.

And the characters featured in this low-budget and fairly low-key but high-concept comedy-drama aren't nearly as likable as the dinner with Andre and Wally. In fact, there are times when you'll wish you were watching two other people.

Yet there is something perversely appealing about this film. Maybe it's the way "Interview" astutely comments on celebrities and our perceptions of them, as well as questioning the sincerity and truthfulness of the media.

The film features one of the better performances from Sienna Miller, who stars as Katya, a notoriously hard-partying Hollywood actress currently starring in a popular prime-time television soap opera. In typical fashion, Katya is quite late for an interview appointment with cynical magazine writer Pierre Peders (Steve Buscemi, who also co-wrote and directed the movie).

Pierre, who normally writes political stories, is not too thrilled to be interviewing someone working in the entertainment industry. So he hasn't gone into it very well-prepared. Katya, in turn, becomes hostile and impatient with his questions. This turns into a game of sorts as the interviewer and his subject try to get the better of each other.

"Interview" is a remake of the 2003 movie of the same name by late Dutch director Theo van Gogh. (Buscemi's friends and fellow actors-turned-filmmakers Stanley Tucci and John Turturro are planning to re-do redo two more of van Gogh's films.) And Katja Schuurman, the star of van Gogh's version, pops up in quick cameo toward the end, as does James Franco (who is merely heard as the voice of Katya's boyfriend).

This is really Miller's film, and here she shows a feistiness and smartness that her earlier performances have lacked.

"Interview" is rated R for strong sexual language (profanity and vulgar slang) and other sexually suggestive talk, drug use and references (cocaine), brief sexual contact and some brief vehicular violence (a taxi accident). Running time: 84 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com