The Interview (1998)
‘We don’t break the law to enforce it,’
No, I am not going to be taking about the 2013 Seth Rogen film of the same name. The Interview is about a man called Edward Rodney Fleming (Hugo Weaving) who is seized from his home under the accusation that he stole another man’s car. A series of events unveil when he is interrogated throughout the film by two policemen, Detective Sargent John Steel (Tony Martin) and his young and tough as nails assistant Detective Senior Constable Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffrey), and it is revealed that the stolen car incident turned into a serial killing.
The director Craig Monahan worked with Hugo Weaving again roughly fifteen years after the release of this film on a film called Healing. Anyway, The Interview is one of the most under appreciated Australian indie films, but certainly one of the most remarkable films of Hugo Weaving’s career, though it is relatively unknown. Hugo Weaving’s character is in a small black room for most of the film, and it relies on closeups of the mouth, eyes and face to suggest that he’s guilty and easy to identify and the mouth can tell lies. Hugo Weaving is generally a very theatrical actor so his facial expressions and his stage presence carry the film along on its own. His eyebrows and face alone bring a brilliant performance in a film that doesn’t rely too much on the action to fill the running time. The use of over the shoulder shots show that the film is mostly a conversation between two or three people. It’s also very hard to believe that the film only takes place over the course of maybe a day or so. Not many films get away with having nearly an entire film of a single set without making it really dull or something out of the soaps but the Interview is filled with suspense, and to think that the ending suggests that he pleaded his way out of it and got away with it eventually.
The film doesn’t need full on sequences that show every little detail of what happened. Yes, there are flashbacks and there’s one scene of the shadow of Edward Fleming hitting someone but we as an audience are made to guess just like they are with one of Hugo Weaving’s other films called Oranges and Sunshine, which is about a social worker who tries to help two survivors of a horrific event. His character goes from a hysterical man on the dole to a supposed innocent looking cunning thief to a manipulative liar. The focus is usually on him as he’s the only person in the room in some of the scenes. The film also makes frequent use of the 360 degree shot which suggests that he is under CCTV all the time.
Overall, an incredibly under appreciated movie that puts all of the character of Edward Fleming’s actions under the telescope. It also makes you feel watched even though you’re probably not guilty for anything. A stolen car can also lead to bigger charges. Great cast, fantastic use of cinematography and it makes me realize that police interrogation scenes are not just for soppy dramas and soap operas.