Michael C. Poole’s The Interview is a film that sets up a mystery, but possibly remains too ambiguous for that mystery to stick as something to truly care about. Tyler (Adrian Estrada) is called in to interview Vanessa (Marie Andersen) about a “religious experience” she has reported to the cops. As Vanessa weaves her tale verbally, we are given glimpses at the visual truth, culminating in a story that is a little strange, to say the least.
Beyond the most obvious questions, which I’m not going to go into for fear of spoiling the story, I had numerous questions about why the interview was even taking place? When the tale is finished, while it is definitely odd, it’s not necessarily something you would expect the cops to focus so intently on, considering there isn’t a crime surrounding any of it.
Additionally, there is a question of credibility to consider. As Vanessa tells her story, she is vague in some aspects and, as the flashbacks show, downright lying about others. If we the audience can see that her words and descriptions aren’t matching up with the actions we’re seeing, it completely damages the mystery being established because we see her as a liar at worst, and misrepresenting the various situations at best. Thus, when it’s over and the film attempts to make an impact, we don’t trust it enough to allow it to do so.
And I don’t know if that was done on purpose, and the true story here lies with Tyler instead and his experience, or if it’s a case of filming the interview and then, during shooting of the flashbacks, just not lining up words with actions well enough. Was it a mistake, or on purpose? If I remain optimistic, and lean towards the latter, then the film is an ambiguous misdirection that left me cold on the entire endeavor.
Which is where I’m at with the film. I didn’t trust the Vanessa character enough (or at all), based on what we see and hear, to buy into the mystery she’s spinning. Because of that, anything else that happens is entirely suspect and the film’s impact, when it attempts to make one, is lost on me.
Still, I found the interview itself to be shot well, with strong composition, and I did enjoy the few moments of effects-enhancement in the flashback elements. It’s pretty straightforward fare, competent without technical failings, so it comes down to whether you engage or buy into what The Interview is selling story-wise. Personally, I found it too dubious to connect with, and too ambiguous otherwise to ponder too long after. If this is too impenetrable a tale, it’s not because the filmmakers didn’t establish a door, it’s that, upon closer inspection, that door is painted on a brick wall.
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