Movies don’t get much stagier than this familiar-feeling game of dueling wills and medium-stakes cat-and-mouse: A smug political reporter (Steve Buscemi) grudgingly interviews a sexpot starlet (Sienna Miller), and they wind up alone in a room trading increasingly drunken volleys of confession and accusation. Adapting murdered Dutch director Theo van Gogh’s 2003 film of the same name, Buscemi co-writes (with David Schecter) and directs; better dramatists than these have plied duets of seduction, repulsion and revelation before, but that doesn’t mean Interview lacks power. It is stylistically resourceful (her yapping-dog ring tone signals transitions between rounds, for instance), but performance is where it really scores. The movie asks its characters—each professionally habituated to using people and understandably proceeding from contempt—to stand in for symptoms of a collective cultural sickness, and the actors oblige decisively. So yes, it’s a vanity piece, but that’s sort of OK because vanity is what it’s about.

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