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Originally published July 27, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 27, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Movie review

A star, a reporter, an intimate conversation in Interview"

"For Theo," reads the simple dedication on Steve Buscemi's engrossing two-character drama "Interview." The film is a remake of — and a tribute to — the...

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3 stars

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"Interview," with Steve Buscemi, Sienna Miller. Directed by Buscemi, from a screenplay by Buscemi and David Schechter, based on the film directed by Theo van Gogh and written by Theodor Holman.

81 minutes. Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use.

"For Theo," reads the simple dedication on Steve Buscemi's engrossing two-character drama "Interview." The film is a remake of — and a tribute to — the Dutch director Theo van Gogh's 2003 "Interview," a Dutch-language film that begins as an interview between a famous actress and a political journalist who feels that celebrity profiles are beneath him. Their conversation becomes a long night of talk, initially superficial and ultimately wrenching.

Van Gogh was murdered in 2004, but before his death had planned to remake three of his films in English; now, with the Triple Theo project (initiated by van Gogh's longtime producer Gijs van de Westelaken and American producer Bruce Weiss), his ambition continues posthumously. Interestingly, all three are being helmed by actor/directors, with Stanley Tucci and John Turturro filling out the roster.)

If all three are as skilled as Buscemi's "Interview," the first of the trio, it will be a worthy project indeed. Here, Buscemi plays the world-weary journalist, Pierre, with Sienna Miller (who has an uncanny ability to turn her movie-star sparkle on and off, like a light switch) as the actress, Katya. Their early conversation, in a Manhattan restaurant, is awkward and self-conscious: She's bored with the process, he's sickened by what he sees as a trivial assignment. He's never seen any of her films, nor much cares to. She: "It's a little odd for a journalist to be incurious."

As they move from the restaurant to Katya's nearby loft, the conversation turns drunkenly darker, twisting around the two of them like ropes, binding them together on a lark turned nightmare. Both characters are far more complex than they initially appear to be, and Miller and Buscemi peel off Katya and Pierre's layers with a taut honesty. "In relationships," notes one of them, "there's always a winner and a loser." You might not predict who plays which role by the end; "Interview" slyly keeps you watching, wondering who will emerge from this long night's journey.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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