09 March 2008


This movie was recommended to me by my friend Dustin, and it's an intriguing sort of flick. It's what I think of as a "what if" movie - it sets up a particular situation and then lets it play out. So it's not so much a story as it is a premise - in this case, what happens when a political pundit is sent to interview a B-list celebrity, or rather, what would happen if you stuck the two of them in one room together for a few hours. So obviously, it has to stretch credibility a little bit in order to keep them in the same place and make them interact, and fuel them with plenty of scotch to ease them into a treacherous intimacy, but it manages to do it without forcing you to suspend disbelief too much. Still though, the characters remain largely hypothetical, and because of the way the movie works, their development is necessarily sketched rather than explored. Ultimately, you don't really know what's actually going on with them, when they're being honest, how they really feel. But it's an interesting movie, though I think it falls short of its true potential.

The problem, I think, is that while the writers had a good sense of what the male lead, played by Steve Buscemi (who also direct and co-wrote the script) is like as a person, the female character, well-played by Sienna Miller, remains somewhat opaque to them, and thus, to the viewer as well. She's believable as a character, but not as fleshed out as one would like. The problem is, she's a starlet, ie, someone who generally lives a tabloid life, and her interiority is extremely difficult to access, not least because she wants it that way. The movie does a good job convincing you that she DOES have interiority, which is already a big step in the right direction, but you feel like the writers still weren't quite sure what it's like. Ultimately, the movie is largely from Buscemi's perspective, and Sienna Miller remains a mystery.

Still though, for a movie that's largely set in one room - it could fairly easily be a play - it manages to have a plot of sorts by shifting the balance of power between the two characters in interesting ways. The sexual dynamic between them is well-handled, and the movie doesn't ever really drag. While I felt like it could have been a better movie, it was definitely far better than similar films of its kind.

No comments: