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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 trying to impersonate a frightened man. The rest of the film, although it does not entirely find its feet is an intriguing story about why the Weaving character, Eddie, is doing this. Part of the problem is that Weaving is much more sure-footed when it comes to doing malevolence than he is with apologetic niceness but then if, as the story intimates, Eddie is inherently evil and playing with his constabulary captors perhaps this false innocence is entirely appropriate. It is this ambivalence that makes Monahan’s film, which won the 1998 AFI Best Picture award, so compelling, apparent clunky bits notwithstanding. Opposite Weaving and complexifying the ambiguities, Tony Martin gives an impressive performance as the cop whose job is eating away at his moral fibre. Who’s bad and who’s good? That is indeed the question.

I don’t know if Monahan, who co-wrote this with Gordon Davie, has seen Guiseppe Tornatore’s outstanding Une Pur Formalité but his abstracted, Kafka-esque setting suggests that he has used it as a point of reference. If not, he would have benefited from doing so. Whilst Simon Duggan’s photography, the stripped-back production design and David Hirschfelder’s music all work well in this respect, the treatment could probably have been pushed further towards the mysterious and away from some of the more conventional police drama aspects such as the various cop vs cop moments. If not entirely successful, The Interview is a rewarding film for anyone interested in quality Australian cinema.

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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