It’s not every day that a movie catches the attention of a third-world dictator. The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, will be forever engrained in Hollywood history, but for the most unexpected reasons.
The movie follows American talk show personality Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) as they travel to North Korea after landing an exclusive interview with notorious dictator Kim Jong Un. The two catch the attention of the CIA, which recruits them to assassinate Kim. As the two prepare for the interview, each experience a different side of North Korea, from singing Katy Perry with Kim, to trying to escape his team of lethal guards. Over time, they are exposed the indecencies of the country, and are faced with the overwhelming task of killing the beloved leader of North Korea.
While the film has received a huge political response, it should not be treated as anything more than it was originally intended to be. The Interview is first and foremost, a mindless, independent, American comedy. It is not government propaganda, nor a threat to North Korea. The cheap jokes and outrageous stunts portrayed in the film are meant to generate laughs, and shouldn’t be given a second thought. Although satirical themes are integrated through the entire plot, it is far from being an informative documentary.
On the other hand, the film and controversy surrounding it has brought some much needed attention to the devastating condition faced by North Koreans under the Kim regime. While the comedy’s plot is purely fictional, the circumstances surrounding them are eerily similar to the real world. The people of North Korea are at the mercy of the very young Kim Jong Un, whom they believe to be a godly figure.
For several decades, the Kim family has driven North Korea into a state of hunger, poverty, and malnourishment. In openly criticizing the dictatorship, an opposer’s entire family is placed into labor and concentration camps. Basic human rights and necessities are violated by the government, and nothing can be done to speak out against it.
The filmmaker might not have expected it, but The Interview had played a tremendous role in exposing many people to what is just the surface of difficulties faced by North Koreans. Newly imposed sanctions from the US have been placed in response to the Sony hacks, and the United Nations have revisited North Korea’s human rights violations.
The quality of the film itself may have been mediocre, but its impact is undeniable. Behind the explosions and sexual innuendos, an important message is being promoted, one that should continue to be spread until justice in met in North Korea.
3 ½ stars