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Interview with the Assassin

Walter Ohlinger has a secret he wants to tell his neighbor. Ohlinger (Raymond J. Barry, Training Day, The Deep End) claims to be the second gunman in the Kennedy assassination, the man behind the grassy knoll. And he wants to tell all this to his neighbor Ron Kobeleski (Dylan Haggerty, Dropping Out, The Postman), a cameraman for the local news station. So begins Interview with the Assassin, the new fake documentary by Neil Burger. Kobeleski is intrigued, and believes that Ohlinger may be his ticket to stardom, so he agrees to interview him. For his part, Ohlinger claims that he can prove everything.

Ohlinger is old, but still an imposing presence. He is gruff, terse, looks like he can still kill somebody quickly. He states everything matter-of-factly, almost confrontationally and impatiently with Kobeleski, who does all he can to keep up. At first, Kobeleski is extremely wary of anything that Ohlinger says, but the more they spend time together and the more that Ohlinger reveals, the more that Kobeleski's doubts waver. He doesn't know if Ohlinger is on the level or if he has some other agenda. For most of the film, Burger does a good job of keeping the suspense high and the viewer guessing as to what is real or not. Ohlinger makes claims, and others refute them. The concept is fascinating, and hooks the viewer for a little while.

At some point, the tone shifts and the movie goes downhill. Interview with the Assassin works best as a psychological mystery. Burger decides make the film more exciting, and this ruins the tenuous feeling of everything. It's like he wanted to do a thinking man's Blair Witch Project. The movies are so different that by adding some action here, the film feels ridiculous, and worse, boring. To try to keep the integrity of his fake documentary, he has Kobeleski sometimes appear in camera. Interview with the Assassin was shot on digital, and for the most part, does resemble a low-budget documentary. However, it's hard to believe that Kobeleski would be so willing to follow Ohlinger all over the country with so few facts.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 25 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language and violence, probably an R, possibly a PG-13.

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