The Interview (1998 film)
|Directed by||Craig Monahan|
|Produced by||Bill Hughes|
|Written by||Craig Monahan|
|Music by||David Hirschfelder|
|Edited by||Suresh Ayyar|
|Distributed by||Sullivan Entertainment|
The Cinema Guild
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.
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.
- Hugo Weaving as Edward Rodney Fleming
- Tony Martin as Detective Sergeant John Steele
- Aaron Jeffery as Detective Senior Constable Wayne Prior
- Paul Sonkkila as Detective Inspector Jackson
- Michael Caton as Barry Walls
- Peter McCauley as Detective Hudson
- Glynis Angel as Detective Robran
- Leverne McDonnell as Solicitor
- Libby Stone as Mrs. Beecroft
- Andrew Bayly as Constable Prowse
- Doug Dew as Andrew Beecroft
(1998 AFI Awards)
|Best Film||Bill Hughes||Won|
|Best Direction||Craig Monahan||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||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|
|Best Production Design||David Hirschfelder||Nominated|
|FCCA Awards||Best Film||Bill Hughes||Nominated|
|Best Director||Craig Monahan||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||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|
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.
The Interview grossed $556,263 at the box office in Australia.
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.
- Fincina Hopgood, "Reading the Interview", Cinema Papers, August 1998 p16-18
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
- "Umbrella Entertainment". Retrieved 5 August 2013.