Opening 29 May 2008
Pierre (Steve Buscemi) is a journalist who normally hangs with the big guys to cover international affairs. He has lost favor with his editor, who schedules him for an interview with second-tier actress Katya (Sienna Miller). They get off to a bad start in their restaurant meeting place. Each puts on airs of superiority and boredom, and there is instant dislike. The interview is a failure. They go their separate ways, but a quirk accident causes Pierre to land in Katya’s beautiful loft residence for first aid treatment. All night long they talk, revealing more of their lives than they originally intended, quarrelling, flirting, telephoning, snooping, watching television, smoking, crying, and jousting for the upper hand.
This two-person film, although not based on a play, would be effective in the theater. Actually, it is an American remake of a 2003 Dutch film of the same name by Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by a Muslim extremist on the streets of Amsterdam in November 2004. Buscemi directs, co-writes (with the original writer Theodor Holman) and acts. It is very fitting that Buscemi, well known for his independent-minded contributions to the film world, should honor van Gogh in this way. For the first time Buscemi actually looks handsome, perhaps due to complementary camera angles and closed-mouth smiles. Who wouldn’t want to appear handsome paired with beautiful, blond Miller? This is an intelligent film for viewers who appreciate snappy dialogue, although the surprise ending might ruin a blonde’s ding-bat reputation. (Becky Tan)