Thursday, July 26, 2007

Movies: Interview

Sometimes, I walk out of movie theatres completely in love with the people I've just seen (The Dreamers). Sometimes, I walk out of movie theatres completely disgusted and embarrassed to even be a human being (Sideways). This is the first time I've walked out in such a complete and utter quandary.

Steve Buscemi is a washed-up political journalist sent by his magazine to interview Sienna Miller's character, a television actress on a 90210-ish program who has also made a few slasher-style B movies, and is mostly famous for being hot and for having affairs with other hot, famous people. Neither of them brings very much to the table; the actress shows up over an hour late for the meeting, and the journalist has seen none of her movies, no episodes of her television show, and hasn't even read the bio brief that her PR agent sent to his magazine.

After an unlikely turn of events, the actress invites the journalist up to her loft, where the movie progresses in real time as the two drink, spar, flirt, and verbally abuse each other. Eventually, things get deep, confidences are exchanged, and confessions are made. Not long after, we see that confidences have been betrayed. Not long after that, we see that the confessions were false.

And then the movie is over, and we, the audience, are in a quandary. At least I am. The actress is a manipulative, spoiled brat who drinks excessively, snorts coke in her bathroom, and has a pink Razr phone with the most annoying (but the most brilliant) cell phone ring (it is the sound of a purse dog barking, which, since she doesn't actually have a purse dog, is completely brilliant. Kudos to whomever made that executive decision). But she is a vixen, and she seduces us, just as she seduces the journalist. And it's sick and it's twisted, because she is the cat and he is the mouse and she is torturing him for her pleasure, but she is so goddamned sexy—the way she moves, the way she speaks, the way she takes off her boots—I can't help but fall hopelessly for her. The journalist is a liar and a bit of a thug; he's every bit as manipulative as she is; he's a loser; he's an inebriate; he's a con man. He's not the mouse—he's the flea: a bloodsucker and a parasite. But there is something intelligent about him—he was once high-minded, it seems; he's been wounded; he's needy.

And so, how do we feel? What have we learned? People are dreadful and horrible and abusive? Or is it just these two people? Or is it just actresses and journalists? Or is Steve Buscemi (writer/director) simply sick of Hollywood, but unable to wrench himself out of its seductive claws? I still haven't decided.

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