The Interview

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary - Craig Monahan (Director)
Cast & Crew Biographies
Cast & Crew Interviews
Notes - Film Festivals
Notes - Reviews
Notes - CD Soundtrack
Deleted Scenes (2, with Director's commentary)
Alternate Ending (with Director's commentary)
Featurette - Production Design/Storyboards
Rating m.gif (1166 bytes)
Year Released 1998
Running Time 100:08 Minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (69:57)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Craig Monahan
Australian Film Finance Corporation
The AV Channel
Starring Hugo Weaving
Tony Martin
Aaron Jeffrey
Paul Sonkkila
Michael Caton
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music David Hirschfelder
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9No.jpg (4709 bytes)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    If nothing else, the Australian film industry can be credited with having failed to grow as stagnant and stale as the Hollywood system, in spite of producing its own fair share of stinkers. The Interview is an interesting, competently-executed police drama with enough fine acting to save it from a lack of any credible action. It is worth watching just to see that Michael Caton of The Castle fame really can act in spite of having been severely typecast over the previous decade. However, the real meat in this sandwich is the three-way acting duel between Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, and Aaron Jeffrey, all of whom leave me in a state of wonder as to why they aren't appearing in more films for bigger salaries.

    The film begins in the apartment of one Eddie Rodney Fleming (Hugo Weaving), a seemingly harmless man who was retrenched before the time the film is set in, and is struggling to make ends meet. Nobody is more surprised than he is when the police come barging into his home and take him down to the local station for questioning. The questioning process is entrusted to Detective Sergeant John Steele (Tony Martin) and Detective Senior Constable Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffery), who use the old good-cop-bad-cop routine in an effort to shake information out of Eddie. Their boss, Detective Inspector Jackson (Paul Sonkkila), is anxious to see this case wrapped up because it has been an embarrassing mystery for some time. What little evidence they do have points to Eddie having stolen a car that was owned by a man called Beecroft (Doug Dew), who now happens to be missing. Beecroft's wife (Libby Stone) can't identify any of the items that were found in Eddie's apartment as having been stolen from him, and Eddie soon requests that a solicitor (Leverne McDonnell) be provided for him. Meanwhile, local reporter Barry Walls (Michael Caton) shows up to question and annoy the two detectives as to whether they're questioning the right man.

    Things become complicated when Detective Prior drops the wrong words to Barry, creating a rift between him and Detective Steele, and then Eddie begins confessing to crimes that he may or may not have committed. Then the standard Internal Affairs detectives come in and raise questions about the manner in which the two detectives conducted the whole interview in the first place. When Detective Jackson attempts to salvage the whole interview from enquiries about police corruption, Eddie sees his chance to get out of the interview room and put egg on the faces of the detectives at the same time. That's where I'll leave things so you can sit back and enjoy the rest of the film for yourself.

    188 IMDB users have given this film a solid eight out of ten rating, with comparisons between this small-scale drama and The Usual Suspects being offered by some critics. All in all, this is a fine piece of work from some of Australia's best actors, with their performances making it worth the effort to sample this film by themselves. If only I could say the same for this transfer...

Transfer Quality


    Before I begin, I have to say that the products I have seen to date from The AV Channel, nee Siren Entertainment, have been of good quality and, despite a few shortfalls in transfer quality here and there, have been worthy of their asking price. However, with that in mind, if I could sum this particular transfer up with a single word, it would be "disappointment".

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. I think the majority of the problems to be found in this transfer could well be blamed upon this fact, although the date of the film's production makes it very unlikely that this is another recycled laserdisc master. The foreground of the transfer was sharp and vibrant at all times, but the backgrounds were often lacking in resolution. The shadow detail is great when required, although the vast majority of the film takes place in brightly lit conditions. Low-level noise was not a problem, but film grain appeared in large amounts during some outdoor shots.

    The colour saturation of this transfer is dark and subdued, in keeping with the setting of the film. Most of the story takes place in a room within a police station, which in turn is inside a building that could well be a hundred or more years old, giving the people responsible for the transfer a cold, dark palette of colours to work with.

    MPEG artefacts were not a problem for this transfer, and most of the film is not all that tightly compressed. Film-to-video artefacts, however, were a major problem in this transfer and soon reached unacceptable levels, especially given the high bitrate of the transfer. There was no scene that was free of aliasing, with the edges of objects shimmering away with annoying regularity. I counted no less than forty-seven instances of aliasing during the first hour of the film, with a real shocker noticed on the edge of some papers at 19:25. Given that this could almost be an average of one instance of aliasing per minute, we can mention this transfer in the same breath as such shockers as The Thing and Backdraft. Film artefacts were not too bad, however, with the only significant one being a white scratch in the lower middle of the frame at 28:56.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place between Chapters 14 and 15, at 69:57. Sadly, this is a few seconds into a musical cue, making the pause very jarring indeed.


    The audio transfer is much better than the video transfer, although it really doesn't have much sparkle in it. This, however, can be blamed fairly and squarely upon the style of the film we are dealing with. There are two soundtracks provided on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 with a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second, and an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 with a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. I listened to both soundtracks, bemoaning the lack of at least a three-channel mix to make things a little more interesting.

    The dialogue was always clear and easy to make out, partially because there weren't that many other sounds in the mix to intrude upon it. The only other sounds in the film that occur with any regularity are those of feet pounding against different types of floor, and the clicking of an audio cassette recorder. This would have made life quite easy for the compression, although it does add up to a rather boring soundtrack in comparison to what the format is capable of. This is to be expected, however, since the film was originally presented with a simple Dolby SR soundtrack. There were no discernible problems with audio sync, and I doubt that much dubbing would have been required.

    The music in this film is credited to David Hirschfelder, although I really never knew that it was there to begin with. This either means that it was very good, or very bad, and I am not entirely such which. Considering that it is the only significant sound besides the dialogue, the fact that I can hardly remember any of it after the film is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

    The surround channels were not used by this soundtrack, although I'm not really sure that the film itself throws anything at the Dolby Digital codec which it would consider worthy of such channel separation, anyway. Even the use of stereo separation seems to be a bit of a waste with this film, and I am sure that one could enjoy the sound as much on a monaural television as they would by engaging their digital amplifier. The subwoofer was similarly redundant during this film, offering only the occasional dose of bottom-end to such sound effects as passing cars or doors being broken down. If you're looking for a disc with which to demonstrate your system to friends, this is definitely not it.



    The main menu features an introduction in the form of a quote from the film, and it is heavily animated with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is not 16x9 Enhanced. The navigation is extremely straightforward. Oddly enough, the introduction and main menu are encoded with timing information. Another interesting feature is that the introductory quote and main menu changes to be themed around a different character every time you return to it from a different title.

Theatrical Trailer

    This eighty-three second trailer is presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Audio Commentary - Craig Monahan (Director)

    This audio commentary is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 with a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. The commentary features Craig Monahan speaking over the top of the film's original soundtrack about how each scene was filmed. This commentary is not the most interesting one you'll ever listen to, but it is worth checking out once. A pop was heard in this commentary at 18:17.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Selecting the Press Kit option in the first extras menu will take you to another menu with Biographies, Interviews, Film Festivals, Reviews, and CD Soundtrack on it. The Biographies sub-menu will take you to a list of biographies for Aaron Jeffery, Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, and director Craig Monahan. Only Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin get the benefit of a second page.

Cast & Crew Interviews

    Selecting this option takes the viewer to a chapter listing menu from which interviews with Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, Aaron Jeffery, director Craig Monahan, or co-writer Gordon Davie can be selected. Alternatively, the Play All option allows one to watch each interview in sequence, as they are all presented in the same twenty-four minute and twenty-second featurette. Said featurette is presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The interviews are presented with the topic of the question each interviewee is answering presented as a title before each answer, similar to how the interviews are presented on Lethal Weapon 4. The interviews offer a fair amount of insight into the film's production, and are well worth the time to listen to, with Tony Martin's interview segments offering the most fascinating insight into the film and its subject.

Notes - Film Festivals

    A listing of all the film festivals that this film has been shown at, as well as the ones that participants have won awards from.

Notes - Reviews

    Some quotes from reviews of the film by Australian and North American media, all of which are quite positive.

Notes - CD Soundtrack

    A static advertisement for the film's musical soundtrack. I wasn't even aware there actually was one during the film.

Deleted Scenes (2, with Director's commentary)

    This option, after a warning about the quality of the footage presented here being sub-par, takes the viewer to a menu of deleted scenes. In order, the two deleted scenes are Time To Get The Shrink (1:12) and Steele And Walls On Staircase (1:06). Both are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and they are not 16x9 Enhanced. Both feature optional director's commentary on the reason why they were excised from the final cut of the film.

Alternate Ending (with Director's commentary)

    This scene is featured last on the Deleted Scenes menu, running for four minutes and forty-three seconds. It is also presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and is not 16x9 Enhanced. It also features optional director's commentary on the reason why the ending was altered into the form we see in the final cut of the film.

Featurette - Production Design/Storyboards

    This is under the pre-production submenu, which takes the viewer to a chapter listing that gives a choice between Production Design, Storyboards, and Play All. The total length of the featurette is eight minutes and thirty seconds. It is presented Full Frame with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.


    There are no censorship issues relating to this title.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 version of this DVD is scheduled for release on May 15, about a week before the local version is due out. Details about this disc are hard to come by, but the video quality surely cannot possibly be much worse, even with the dreaded 3:2-pulldown artefacts.


    The Interview is a nice film in a similar style to The Usual Suspects. I didn't enjoy it a great deal, but that was more because of the transfer than the film itself.

    The video transfer is simply unacceptable.

    The audio transfer is competent, but uninspiring.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

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 © Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
April 23, 2001
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer