great-grandnephew of painter Vincent van Gogh, was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam in 2004 by a religious fanatic who objected to the subject matter in one of his movies. Since his death, van Gogh has achieved a sort of artistic martyrdom and associates of his have determined to see out a grand plan he had of remaking three of his feature films in English and all set in New York City.
The first of these projects is INTERVIEW, basically a two-hander about a journalist named Pierre Peders (Steve Buscemi) assigned to write a puff piece on a one-named media darling named Katya (Sienna Miller). In van Gogh's film, the actors portrayed characters with the same first names and his leading lady's off screen life mirrored what was depicted on screen. For the American version, Buscemi directs (from a screenplay adaptation he co-wrote with David Schecter). While Sienna Miller may be best known to Americans (if at all) for her tabloid escapades as Jude Law's former girlfriend, she doesn't exactly carry the cachet for which the part calls. If only Lindsay Lohan were older, she would be the perfect choice for the part.
The film starts off with establishing scenes of each character. Pierre is visiting his catatonic brother in a mental ward of a hospital while Katya is seen rehearsing a scene for the primetime show in which she stars. The rehearsal has caused her to run late for her meeting with Pierre at a tony restaurant. For his part, he is upset, partly because as a former political correspondent he is champing at the bit to head to Washington, DC, where a scandal involving the White House is coming to light. But as the audience will later learn, there are reasons why he is isn't on his way to the nation's capital and instead stuck meeting with the starlet.
Now, in the past, I used to partake in these celebrity interview sessions. I've even met the subjects at restaurants and there's even been some flirting going on -- although being the upright person I was, I never crossed any lines. And I've never had the experiences that unfold in this movie. No star of Katya's stature would ever meet a journalist alone without a publicist or someone nearby.
Pierre is contemptuous of Katya and even calls her a vulgar name (a pun on her name). The initial meeting is hate at first sight and things spiral out of control. But in a weird twist, she causes the cab in which Pierre is riding to crash (into a truck for Van Gogh movers, one of the film's little in-jokes) and takes the journalist back to her loft. There, the real fireworks begin.
The movie is essentially these two characters engaging in cat-and-mouse discussions, but in both cases, they switch personalities so much that I thought maybe the screenwriters of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END had taken a crack at the script. While both Buscemi (who has come to resemble John Waters without the mustache) and Miller struggle to give their characters depth, the audience just begins to grow weary. Watching the film is like attending a stripped down production of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? but without the empathy.
I frankly could not care about either of the people on screen. She comes off as a spoiled, manipulative and nasty woman and he is equally repellent. No self-respecting journalist would ever behave like that (except in the movies) and no celebrity would openly do drugs and confess problems with her love life to a reporter. Since the whole premise of the movie is a conceit that is unbelievable, the film fails.
Rating: D MPAA Rating: R for language including sexual references, and some drug use Running time: 83 mins.