Australian co-writer/director Craig Monahan's The Interview opens with a jolt of paranoia worthy of Kafka or Philip K. Dick: A nondescript middle-aged man, living in an apartment appointed with little more than stacked newspapers, a fishbowl, and a recliner, is roused from bed one morning by a squad of overzealous policemen. Without a word of disclosure, he's driven across town to a police station and thrown into a dank interrogation room, not knowing what he's allegedly done. The man is played by Hugo Weaving, an actor best known for his scene-stealing villain in The Matrix, and, as it becomes clear that he may know more than he lets on, Weaving's cunning performance stops the story on a dime and shifts it in a new direction. A taut, suspenseful police procedural, The Interview has the twisty plot mechanics of The Usual Suspects, but it's more concerned with the tricky technicalities involved in questioning and how they can allow a clever suspect to wriggle off the hook. In a tense game of matching wits, Tony Martin is every bit Weaving's equal as an investigator determined to snare him, first for stealing a car and then for his possible role in abducting six missing persons. As far as the question of whether or not he's remaking Hitchcock's The Wrong Man, Monahan doesn't tip his hand until the final shot, but he doesn't make the accused's guilt or innocence an arbitrary choice, either. There's a fine line between grabbing an audience by the lapels and simply jerking it around that Monahan toes without falling off the wire, primarily because he keeps the action grounded in logic and plausibility. Staked on Weaving's teasing, contradictory behavior—deeply sympathetic at times, troubling at others—The Interview is a rare thriller that challenges perception by repeatedly turning it inside-out.
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