2014 / Directors. Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I saw no urgency in seeing THE INTERVIEW at the time of its theatrical release. It had arrived with such controversy that the inevitable detractors and haters were all over it like flies to shit. I wanted to avoid the circus and so I waited for the home entertainment release.
I liked it. Yes it's puerile and yes it's ludicrous... but I'm not sure what else people were expecting from a movie directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. I have an ongoing affection for the dynamics of Rogen and Franco. They've been collaborating for over fifteen years and I love watching them click. THE INTERVIEW feels like they said "fuck it. lets go balls out" and that's pretty much what the movie is all about. It's a political comedy that pushes the envelope and casts a satirical, yet scrutinising, eye on North Korea.
Rogen and Franco play two tabloid journalists who score the world's first international interview with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Ung. The American government intervenes and assigns them with the task of assassinating the evil dictator. And so the movie has them travelling to the communist state where their every move is monitored and suspicion runs high. Nothing is sacred and everything is exploited for comedy's gain. The focal point of the film is the ridicule of Jong-Ung himself and every effort to lampoon him is exhausted.
I'm sure most of you are aware of the controversy surrounding the film's release with Sony Pictures having their emails hacked and death threats made against America, should the film be released. The North Korean government issued stern warnings and declared the movie to be an act of terrorism. Of course this only fuelled the interest factor and the movie was eventually released online for free for a short time. It's clearly no masterpiece but THE INTERVIEW hits quite a lot of truths. In fact several organisations such as the Human Rights Foundation and Fighters for a free North Korea had planned to drop copies of the movie into the country before they were threatened with retaliation by way of war.
A lot of critics took issue with Franco's dimwitted character. He takes stupidity to infantile lows and could easily be perceived as going "full retard". I think it was an important aspect to the film, though. To be so critical and scathing of North Korea requires a certain amount of self-awareness and Franco's character acts as a critical reflection of the USA. Also pitting Jong-Ung in this guy's company and having them let loose with drugs, sex, sports and arsenal is a brilliant insult to his militant and ruthless leadership. And at the end of the day, it's a comedy. I take well to toilet humour and the movie worked for me.