Interview with the Assassin

"Excellent"

Interview with the Assassin Review


How many ways can we kill JFK? Neil Burger tosses his director's megaphone into the ring with this pseudo-documentary about a man who claims to have been the second gunman, aka the "grassy knoll" assassin. The result is a fantastic story, and-- with all due respect to Mr. Stone--a refreshingly coherent, engrossing piece.

Everyman Ron Kobeleski (Dylan Haggerty) is asked to film the alarming confession of his neighbor Walter Ohlinger (Raymond J. Barry). Ohlinger wants the world to know about his role in the Kennedy assassination before he dies, and the clock is ticking. His chilling deadpan suggests either a man who is calculating enough to kill the president, or one who is unstable enough to lie about it. The neighbors go on a cross-country quest to prove the old man's story, and Kobeleski begins to wonder whether he's chasing his own tail.

The movie reminds us that a group becomes powerful because of average guys who aren't necessarily evil, simply willing. Ohlinger's detachment and disinterest in politics seem at odds with his actions. He goes along because, "You kill the most powerful man in the world, I'd say that makes you the most powerful." Kobeleski begins as an observer, but as the journey darkens, his fear and self-interests restrain him from attempts to slow its momentum. Finally, we realize that we're voyeurs, just like the guy holding the camera. If things don't work out too well for him, what does it mean for us?

It's a relevant question for a country that is just learning how often violence trumps order and power. We're struggling with our national decision to play by those rules, but the movie suggests it's naive to think that we can prevail by any other means.

The unfortunate side effect of governmental distrust is that cynicism spreads. If we can't trust the government, then why trust each other? As Kobeleski begins to doubt Ohlinger, we begin to doubt even our own perceptions--a predicament that Ohlinger articulates perfectly, "I don't care if God himself came down and said I did it. Somewhere, some guy would be saying it couldn't happen that way."

The only problem with documentary-style works of fiction is that the format makes an audience less willing to suspend its disbelief. Scenes of Secret Service ineptitude are particularly dubious. Viewers will also wonder why, when things heat up, Kobeleski never puts a call in to CNN.

Lacking explosions, decapitations, gratuitous nudity, or self-inflicted paper cuts, how did Interview with the Assassin ever make it to the big screen? With a pretty small budget, that's how. Burger whipped his cinematic indie debut together in 22 days with a handheld camera and a cast of 17 (that's including Secret Service Agents #1 and #2 and Babysitter). Burger, who also wrote the screenplay, has an excellent feel for realistic dialogue. Mimicking techniques employed in The Blair Witch Project, the camerawork is intentionally rough, and gives the appearance of an uncut video.

Though it favors exposition over explosion, the film does feature some gunplay and a pistol-whipping, so American audiences won't be on wholly unfamiliar ground. But if you miss movies with a plot, this one is for you.

Scouting the knoll.



Interview with the Assassin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 9th May 2002

Budget: $500 thousand

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ron Kobeleski, as Sharon Kobeleski, Dennis Lau as Steven wu

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.