The Interview (1998 film)

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The Interview
The Interview.JPG
Film poster.
Directed byCraig Monahan
Produced byBill Hughes
Written byCraig Monahan
Gordon Davie
StarringHugo Weaving
Tony Martin
Aaron Jeffery
Music byDavid Hirschfelder
CinematographySimon Duggan
Edited bySuresh Ayyar
Distributed bySullivan Entertainment
The Cinema Guild
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
  • 20 August 1998 (1998-08-20)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryAustralia
LanguageEnglish
Box office$556,264

The Interview is a 1998 Australian thriller film from writer-director Craig Monahan, and is the first of three films directed by Monahan. Almost the entire film takes place in a police interrogation room, with some short flashback sequences, and the cast consists primarily of three key actors—Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, and Aaron Jeffery.[1]

Plot[edit]

Edward Rodney Fleming (Weaving) is a man living alone after losing his job and wife. One morning, Detective Sergeant John Steele (Martin) and his subordinate Detective Wayne Prior break into Fleming's apartment. Steele allows Prior to be physically aggressive and intimidate Fleming. They ransack his belongings, handcuff him, and take him to the police station for interrogation.

Steele and Prior question Fleming about a stolen car. The police claim a witness saw Fleming with the car's owner, Andrew Beecroft. They also claim Fleming's handwriting matches forged sales correspondence between Beecroft and a fake buyer, and that the fake buyer's alias matches an alias Fleming used as a teenager to steal a car for a joyride. Fleming is initially meek and fearful. He denies any knowledge of the theft and only asks for food, as he has not eaten since the previous day. Steele offers false expressions of empathy with Fleming, while Prior intimidates Fleming when the recorder is off.

In between questioning sessions, Steele's superior Detective Inspector Jackson asks Steele to deal with an intrusive reporter, Barry Walls. Steele complains to Walls about how his reckless reporting has previously interfered with police work. Walls offers that he overheard Prior questioning Steele's skills, to convince Steele he can be useful to him in return for information. Steele confronts Prior in private, pins him to the wall, and warns him against future disloyalty.

As the interrogation proceeds, Steele reveals to Fleming that the car's owner is missing. Fleming correctly guesses he is suspected of murdering the car's owner, and that the police believe the theft is related to other missing persons' cases reported in the news. Fleming asks for a lawyer. While Fleming's lawyer advises him to say nothing until he is released in a few hours, Steele convinces Jackson to give him more time with the Fleming.

Fleming's demeanour grows in confidence. Despite his lawyer's advice, he expresses his belief that the missing persons were murdered, and mocks the police for chasing some kind of overarching motive. Fleming hints that he might have more to share after eating. When Steele finally provides food, Fleming proudly details how Beecroft picked him up while hitchhiking. He decided to kill Beecroft on a whim, bludgeoned Beecroft in a semi-delirious state after drinking together, and took Beecroft's car and wallet after disposing of the body. Fleming also casually admits to killing 5-6 other victims starting from a few years ago, claiming he cannot be bothered to remember the details although he always beat them to death after hitchhiking with them. Fleming agrees to provide a video-recorded confession as well.

However, during the videotaping, Jackson walks in and asks to speak to Fleming. Fleming immediately recants everything and says he only told Steele and Prior what they wanted to hear because they brutalized him, threatened him, and refused to feed him. Jackson forces Steele and Prior to end the questioning.

Later, Steele is informed that the entire day's interrogation was being filmed without his knowledge, due to an investigation by a police ethics committee after too many suspects made formal complaints about his conduct. The officer in charge of the ethics review, Detective Hudson, determines that Steele's entire interview is inadmissible in court due to suggestions, false promises, intimidation, and other questionable techniques by Steele and Prior.

Steele blames Jackson for ruining the interview and failing to stand up for him, although Jackson offers to testify that Steele tried to reel in Prior's aggression. Convinced of Fleming's guilt and outraged that he will walk free, Steele arranges to secretly give the entire case info and the audio recording of the confession to Walls. Steele tells Walls he does not care about the consequences since he believes he will be fired anyway. Afterwards, Hudson interviews Steele using another audio recorder. Steele accuses Hudson of a personal grudge, as Hudson led previous ethics investigations against him too. Hudson turns off the recorder, angrily insults Steele, and tells him he will make sure he is fired. Unbeknownst to Hudson, Steele had his own recorder running and recorded Hudson's abusive comments. Steele is last seen planning how to use his recording of Hudson to defend himself.

Fleming leaves the station with an ambiguous grin. In the final scene, Fleming is shown to be hitchhiking again.

Cast[edit]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1998 AFI Awards)
Best Film Bill Hughes Won
Best Direction Craig Monahan Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Won
Gordon Davie Won
Best Actor Hugo Weaving Won
Best Cinematography Simon Duggan Nominated
Best Editing Suresh Ayyar Nominated
Best Original Music Score David Hirschfelder Nominated
Best Sound Peter Palankay Nominated
Peter D. Smith Nominated
John Wilkinson Nominated
Steve Witherow Nominated
Best Production Design David Hirschfelder Nominated
FCCA Awards Best Film Bill Hughes Nominated
Best Director Craig Monahan Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Won
Gordon Davie Won
Best Actor Hugo Weaving Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Tony Martin Nominated
Best Cinematography Simon Duggan Won
Best Music Score David Hirschfelder Won
Flanders International Film Festival Ghent Student Jury Award Craig Monahan Won
Montreal World Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize - Special Mention Won
Grand Prix des Amériques Nominated
Best Actor Hugo Weaving Won
Torino Film Festival Prize of the City of Torino for Best Feature Film Craig Monahan Nominated

Alternate ending[edit]

An alternate ending of the film was featured on the DVD release. In this version, Eddie Rodney Fleming is seen hitchhiking along a desolate road. A car stops and Barry Walls (Caton) offers him a ride. Fleming accepts and they drive away, followed at a distance by Steele (Martin) on his motorcycle, no doubt intending to enforce some vigilante justice.

Box office[edit]

The Interview grossed $556,263 at the box office in Australia.[2]

Home media[edit]

The Interview was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in July 2011. The DVD is compatible with all region codes and includes special features such as audio commentary by Craig Monahan, deleted scenes, the alternate ending and cast and crew interviews.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fincina Hopgood, "Reading the Interview", Cinema Papers, August 1998 p16-18
  2. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  3. ^ "Umbrella Entertainment". Retrieved 5 August 2013.

External links[edit]