A Review of Netflix Gem: Interview With the Assassin

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Netflix is becoming the new norm for movie-watchers and while it does provide big-name titles, some of the best finds are independent films and hidden gems.

Director Neil Burger’s "Interview With the Assassin" is a mockumentary thriller made in 2002 that, despite having a compelling concept and well-executed plot, has managed to stay under the radar for nearly a decade now. For the few people who are fortunate enough to have seen it, this movie is an excitingly realistic adventure that will engross even the most skeptical viewer for the full 90 minutes.

Unlike frontrunners in this genre such as "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation", Burger’s mockumentary is both serious and believable.

The story begins in an unnamed California suburb with average local news cameraman Ron Kobeleski (Dylan Haggerty). In this shot, Kabeleski sits in font of his tri-podded camera in his dingy living room and explains that the old hermit next door, a man named Walter (Raymond J Barry), has contacted him and requested that Ron record a confession of a crime that Walter committed years earlier.

The plain and simple camerawork in this scene sets a precedent for the gritty shots that will soon follow as Ron agrees to pursue Walter’s story. We then watch the rest of the exciting plot unfold through the shaky and unedited lens of Ron’s camera. It is from this view that we learn Walter’s shocking confession is to being the second gunman who shot JFK from the grassy knoll.

A viewer and Ron may both be skeptical at this point, but the film goes on and as Walter begins to produce evidence of his act and the conspiracy behind it, the story that follows is nothing short of amazing.

What is most notable, aside from the gripping premise, is the incredibly realistic manner through which it is presented. Everything from the amateurish camerawork to the raw and seemingly unscripted dialogue of characters creates a very believable illusion of authenticity. Adding to this natural vibe are the actors and actresses themselves who have collectively never been featured in any major production. These unfamiliar faces allow no chance of recognition and therefore no chance of spoiling the film’s realism. In fact, this movie is so void of all the usual signs of Hollywood production that viewers have no reason to doubt its validity until the exhilarating and unexpected surprise ending that comes about in its final moments.

Overall, this movie is the perfect blend of thrilling and believable. It is a well-kept cinematic secret and one that cannot be soon forgotten.

 

MiscRobert Punchur