The Interview

By Christopher Redmond

Mailed on January 05, 2015

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Dear Guardians of Peace

Dear Guardians,

Deep down, you knew that The Interview would eventually be released. You had to. Sure, you illegally leaked embarrassing emails, financial statements, and several upcoming Sony Pictures films, but even when victory seemed possible, it wasn’t. Your disgusting bluff about attacking cinemas that screened The Interview was mercifully undermined by an arthouse alliance of 300+ independent theatres that stepped up at the last minute. And since the film’s on-schedule release at Christmas, all talk about you has disappeared. Thank fuck.

Time to focus on the real fart fest.

Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg are no strangers to scorn. However, it’s usually from middle-aged critics and jaded Gen Xers who maxed out on the pair’s bromance humour after Superbad. Although the two Canadian ex-pats have written some horrible comedies (Drillbit Taylor, The Watch), their co-directorial debut This Is The End was very well-received. So penning a politically relevant end-of-the-world showdown in The Interview wasn’t the ambitious leap it may have initially seemed. It was the plot about a TV host and his producer being recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, that ignited a real-life global incident that no one expected.

Thanks for that, assholes.

Hopefully now we can forget the unnecessary democratic importance you gave the film. By bringing more attention to the title than it could have ever earned on it’s own, many people patriotically paid to download the film, only to realize that it was just another comedy, packed with far more homoeroticism than activism. This seemed to skew a lot of the early reviews, but personally, I thought it was pretty much right on target.

While the film, of course, contains drug montages, naked chicks and poop jokes, it does at least qualify as a beginners guide to dictatorship. A Potemkin village turns James DeFranco’s character into a Dennis Rodman-esque apologist for the regime. Myth’s about Jong-un’s divine right to rule are used as the butt (hole-less) of jokes but paint him as a pitiful man rather than powerful monster. And in a late confrontation, actual stats are used about the millions of people starving in the country and living without basic human rights. Nothing you can’t find from the first few paragraphs of the country’s Wikipedia page, but still – it’s in there. And the film is better for it.

Moving at a solid clip, the film manages more than a few laughs from its (apparently) brazen premise. Even the aforementioned tropes – especially the drug sequences – are kept mercifully short and used to energize the film rather than indulge in tired psychedelic imagery. But here’s the real kicker – Kim Jong-un, or rather Randall Park’s portrayal of the man, is the real star of the show. By making the man more adorable than abhorrent, the filmmakers imbue a humanity that the real leader probably doesn’t deserve. Which makes the final confrontation all the more impactful and satisfying.

But alas, it’s only a stupid movie.



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