The Interview

What do you call 40 lawyers at the bottom of Port Phillip Bay?

Year Released : 1998

Director : Craig Monahan

Cast : Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, Aaron Jeffreyy, Paul Sonkkila and Michael Caton

I recently commented that I have become frustrated with not reviewing some older films for this site in the near four years since I started it. As I have a week off before I start my new role I have decided that in that time I will review two or three films from before the year 2000.

So based on that I was sat on my couch on Monday afternoon and this popped up on my Netflix. It stars Hugo Weaving in pre-Matrix and LOTR days, and if “Priscilla : Queen of the Desert” (the only other one of his films I’ve seen from before then) is anything to go by then this will be an excellent start to the week.

There is something exciting about not knowing a lot about what I am about to watch, other than it being a cat and mouse style crime drama, but whether I will stay excited is a very different matter.

Plot

Eddie (Weaving) is an unemployed man who is still recovering from his wife leaving him. One day several police officers break into his flat and arrest him for an unknown crime. When he is finally interviewed he is asked several seemingly innocent questions by Steele (Martin), all before he is being accused of stealing a car. They however stop the interview short without actually asking him about the car. As they keep returning to the interview, things keep on getting more suspicious.

He is presented a car transfer form between two people Eddie claims not to know, but in his apartment they found numerous examples of his handwriting matching what is on the note. Eddie continues to deny the accusations, but the evidence against him seems to be piling, especially as his answers start becoming inconsistent (such as admitting he used an alias just minutes after denying it).

Is Eddie telling the truth, or is there something ulterior going on?

So a second decent pre-Matrix Weaving effort?

It pretty much goes without saying that Hugo Weaving is a fantastic actor. Obviously his work in several high profile franchises will always be what people recognise him for, but outside of those he puts in consistently solid performances. His role as Tom Doss in “Hacksaw Ridge” was one of the most underrated performances of 2017 and whilst this doesn’t really come close to that, he is still excellent and entirely flexible with his approach.

His performance as Eddie is gripping. Even from the beginning you feel that he isn’t all that he is claiming to be (and I write this bit about 1/3 of the way through the film). Weaving has captured that unease perfectly.

Away from Weaving’s performance this is an excellent produced film. I wasn’t bored at any point and was gripped by it. There is a great element of mystery around the interview, and this is because you only learn the evidence as Eddie hears it, meaning that you are consistently guessing how it is going to turn out. There isn’t a single bit of predictability to it.

Visually the film is a bit on the basic side and were it not for Weaving’s blonde hair, you could easily mistake this for a black and white film at times. However, the lighting used in the interview room strikes me as being exceptionally realistic. Now I’ve never been inside of an Australian police station interview room (or any for that matter), but I can imagine that if you wanted to interrogate someone then this would be the room to do it in, so in terms of realism I can’t see anything wrong with it. 

Summary

Hugo Weaving is fantastic in an excellently told story. It is thrilling, mysterious and constantly keeps you guessing. You’re never sure where the film is going and that is something that a lot of modern film makers have either forgotten, or never realised in the first place.

With a humble set up, everyone involved does a stellar job and this was one of the better films I’ve reviewed for this site for quite a while.

It’s on Netflix at the moment (well the UK version anyway), so go and watch it.

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