(Peace Arch, 2007) D: Steve Buscemi, w/ Sienna Miller, Buscemi. Rating: NN; DVD package: n/a
(Peace Arch, 2003) D: Theo van Gogh, w/ Katja Schuuman, Pierre Bokma. Rating: NN; DVD package: n/a
Taken together, the Dutch interview and its American remake are more enjoyable than either watched separately. The films are engaging acting duels based on a good, though stagey, idea but marred by a slightly pretentious script that needs more workshopping. Viewed back-to-back, the two versions offer the unique pleasure of seeing how acting, directing and script choices inflect a movie.
The stories are almost identical: a political journalist, Pierre (SteveBuscemi, Pierre Bokma), is pissed off at having to interview Katya (Sienna Miller, Katja Schuuman), a movie star more famed for who she fucks (the American version) or her big tits (Dutch) than for her work. Their mutual dislike is instant, and the one-upmanship games begin.
Buscemi brings a bit more backstory and thus depth to Pierre’s bitterness, and changes the nature of his final revelation. That weakens the impact of the ending but adds an interesting and appropriate layer of ambiguity. He also chooses to emphasize the characters’ drunkenness. That motivates the increasingly psychodramatic dialogue, but it lessens the sense of engagement that Bokma brings to his version of the journalist.
Miller and Schuuman are both good as Katya, but only the former reveals early on the evidence of a cunning mind at work.
A warning: if you’re going to back-to-back these, watch the U.S. film first. The subtitles in the Dutch version sometimes drift so far out of sync, you can’t tell who’s saying what.
Extras Dutch version: Widescreen. Dutch audio. English subtitles. American version: Widescreen. English, French audio.
Coming December 21 and 26