Sienna Miller delivers a bewitchingly physical performance in Interview, imbuing her sexpot character with a sly understanding that a starlet's art is the tricky business of seduction, a skill at which she's profoundly blessed. It probably doesn't hurt that Miller is playing a variation on her own image as a hard-partying tabloid fixture whose "It Girl" status stems largely from her looks, charisma, and exceedingly public private life as Jude Law's ex.
A remake of a 2003 film by Theo van Gogh, a Dutch director who was murdered by one of the Muslim extremists he often antagonized, Interview centers on an extended interview/conversation between Miller's self-destructive actress and Steve Buscemi, a bitter political journalist who arrives at the sit-down armed with nothing but a camcorder and blistering contempt for everything she represents. A tense dance of attraction and repulsion follows, as Buscemi launches alternately arbitrary and insulting questions that do nothing to conceal his condescending, self-righteous disdain for the fizzy pop world Miller embodies. As the interview sputters and stalls, first at a restaurant and then in Miller's colossal loft, the pair develops a love-hate dynamic heavy on hatred. Booze is poured, coke is consumed, and lies and secrets are proffered in equal amounts.
Buscemi shoots The Interview with handheld cameras for an unnerving intimacy more common to the stage than the screen, mining the premise for nervous laughter and claustrophobic, sometimes strained melodrama. Though it offers plenty of explanations—unresolved daddy issues, a competitive streak, morbid fascination—the film never convincingly explains why Miller doesn't just kick her sour, belligerent interrogator out, except perhaps for a stubborn unwillingness to let the "interview" end until she's secured a distinct moral victory. In that sense, the film's twist ending, which delivers a conclusive winner to the evening's epic power struggle, is clever in both the positive and pejorative sense. The Interview is mannered, implausible, and stagy, but queasily compelling all the same.