It only feels appropriate for our times, when the public is caught in a passive-aggressive relationship with Hollywood royalty and the press, that Steve Buscemi’s Interview portrays superficial characters in a manner that matches their cynical manipulations. Buscemi himself plays Pierre Peters, a political journalist on the outs with his editor and forced to write a fluff piece on Katya (Sienna Miller), a “spoiled brat” of a young blonde star. The film’s title forecasts a theatrical pas de deux, and that’s what we get. After a failed restaurant meeting, Pierre and Katya go to her expensive loft for a late-night, real-time duel in which they pit their sexuality, intelligence, pain and buried secrets against each other. After copious drink and drugs, and some melodramatic yelling and all-around childish behavior, Interview delivers the truth about its characters, which more or less amounts to: people who sell images of themselves sell those images as lies.
Buscemi and co-writer David Schecter, adapting a Theodor Holman screenplay first filmed in 2003 by murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, are exploring our contemporary fascination with fabricating reporters and shallow starlets, all of them con artists relying on the coveted patina of artifice as the essence of their craft. Such a battery of mutual exploitation is a rich subject, and at certain uniquely humorous and real moments, Buscemi and Miller dig up dark reserves of honest confusion from beneath the surfaces of their parts. In the end, however, by a chain of easy ironies, Interview reaffirms its indie film audience’s superiority over a “separate” realm of cultural activity.