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Australia 1998
Directed by
Craig Monahan
106 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Interview, The (1998)

Craig Monahan’s debut feature begins inauspiciously with Hugo Weaving apparently trying to impersonate a frightened man. The rest of the film is an intriguing story that explains why not Weaving but his character, Eddie, is doing this as he is arrested in the wee small hours of the morning then subjected to a morning long interview by an intimidating cop. Det. Sgt. John Steele (Tony Martin) and his aggressive younger partner Det. Sr. Const. Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffery).

Co-written by Monahan with Gordon Davie The Interview is an engrossing, tightly-focussed drama that recalls Guiseppe Tornatore’s similarly structured Une Pur Formalité (1994), a film  that also uses a low-lit, threatening Kafka-esque setting for a cat-and-mouse engagement between its two lead characters. Monahan’s film however utilizes more conventional aspects of the police drama, in particular the notion that Steele is blindly bent on closing the case than in getting to the truth of the matter. This, however, is done with intelligence and flair, using our genre expectations to build the narrative to an unexpected outcome and our sympathies to shift as Eddie’s true nature emerges.

Weaving is at his best once Eddie gets a taste for the game but Martin, an actor well-experienced in playing hard-nosed cops, notably in ABCTV’s Wildside series, also gives a very strong showing as Steele follows the dark road into Eddie's world.  It is this journey that makes Monahan’s film, which won the 1998 AFI Best Picture award, so effective although arguably it would have been even stronger had it managed to maintain a sense of doubt about who was the good guy and who the bad.   .

Simon Duggan’s colour-leached photography, the stripped-back production design and art direction by Richard Bell and David Hirschfelder’s music all work well to deliver an impressively above-average genre film.  

DVD Extras: Audio commentary by Craig Monahan; Deleted scenes; Cast and crew Interviews; Pre-production design and storyboards; Photo gallery; Press clippings; Theatrical trailer.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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