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Dawn. A seemingly meek and mild Eddie (Hugo Weaving), is asleep in the armchair of his shabby flat, when two cops storm in, ransack the flat and violently arrest him; the two officers, Det Sgt John Steele (Tony Martin) and Det Snr Const Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffery), take him downtown to HQ, and into an interrogation room, where they interview him over several hours. At first, they seem to have little to pin on him, yet go over and over the most mundane details of his life. Then it emerges there is a car theft he might be involved in; but there is more beneath the surface, and as hours go by in this isolated world, the line between innocence and guilt dissolves into shadow. Eddie changes tack but is still trapped in a game of life and death. The police desperately try to drag him under the waves of complicity, but their interrogation methods have been monitored by the ethics team, complicating life for all. The private agendas, secret deals and police instituitionalism coalesce and the truth becomes tantalisingly elusive - even when it seems to have been revealed.

"In deleted scenes -each available with or without the directorís commentary - the alternative ending is notable for Craig Monahanís frank description of it as ďcrapĒ. It isnít really, itís just, as he adds, the beginning of a new film and a piece of revelation that takes away the ambiguity of the ending as released. And that is what is crap about it. He was right the first time, but on paper the final shot didnít turn on the money. Funny isnít it. And it pinpoints Monahanís fascination with the power of suggestion in film, the power of mystery; he isnít all that whoopped about mere exposition. All three scenes are little filmmaking lessons.

His explanation of the opening scene is another: the fish in a goldfish bowl by the open window is his metaphor for what happens to Eddie (Hugo Weaving). And the newspapers on the table are a subtle clue to the subject matter. The Interview begins with this sense of mystery and suspense; we know very little, but the mood is well established; quickly and with a combination of music and pictures.

Monahan reveals how he made those first few shots count so much. For apart from the mood, what he also explains is how he intended to make these scenes of the arrest seem to be almost from Eddieís point of view. Of course what this does is to make us sympathise with Eddie and see him as a victim. Maybe. For the rest of the film to succeed as a suspense thriller, this was crucial.

Although the transfer is a little dark, it is clean and the intimate clarity of Monahanís commentary brings us into the film with the same tension intact as we found in the film originally. And we are reminded how effective David Hirschfelderís music is in helping to create the neo-gothic mood.

The craftsmanship throughout is exemplary and demonstrates how important craft is to art. Whether The Interview is art or not, of course, is subjective, but I think it is certainly a film of some lasting value. If you enjoyed the film, this DVD is a welcome fulfillment or completion of the entertainment and insights available from its features. If you havenít seen the film, I strongly recommend it - but for best effect, just see the film itself first before exploring its features. Youíll get a bigger hit from it."

Andrew L. Urban

Published May 24, 2001

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See our INTERVIEW with Craig Monahan

WIN a copy of The Interview on DVD plus a CD soundtrack


CAST: Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, Aaron Jeffery, Michael Caton


RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Siren Visual Ent / AV Channel

DVD RELEASE: May 23, 2001

Audio Commentary by Director Craig Monahan; Deleted Scenes; Alterntive Ending; Cast/crew interviews; production notes; motion main menu

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