The Interview (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The Interview is currently available on YouTube and Xbox Video.
In the wake of the Sony hack, The Interview was pretty close to becoming a victim of a new form of censorship as its release was first postponed and then completely canceled without further plans of any form of theatrical distribution. After all this back and forth of whether or not the film will be distributed, The Interview was finally released on Christmas Day on several streaming services including YouTube and Xbox Video. Being caught in the middle of the nasty Sony hack and an intense political debate, the film will most likely benefit from its world-wide attention due to the hack, the terrorist threats and its aftermath. But is it actually worth to be release and to be seen? My answer would be a “Yes”. Not only because its sudden and unexpected release takes up an adverse stand against censorship but also because The Interview is surprisingly funny and self-ironic.
But is it actually worth to be release and to be seen? My answer would be a “Yes”. Not only because its sudden and unexpected release takes up an adverse stand against censorship but also because The Interview is surprisingly funny and self-ironic.
The North Korean political satire and buddy-comedy was written by Dan Sterling and directed by Evan Goldberg and his childhood-friend and the film’s leading actor Seth Rogen. It kicks off with the fictional entertainment show “Skylark Tonight” in which a famous celebrity casually comes out as a homosexual and admits to having played peek-a-boo all these years. The opening scene therefore features a hilarious cameo and introduces the audience to the caricatural characters of Dave Skylark (James Franco), the host of “Skylark Tonight” and his best friend, producer Aaron Rapport (Seth Rogen).
After Rapport’s 1000th episode celebration he admits that he would be more interested in producing serious news coverage rather than just dull Hollywood entertainment. As luck would have it he learns that no other than Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), dictator of the isolated North Korean regime, is a big fan of “Skylark Tonight” and American pop-culture in general. If the show could score an exclusive interview with him, Rapport and Skylark could go down in history and advance their careers. The two friends get organized and can actually arrange an interview that is going to take place in North Korea and will be extremely supervised. Shortly after Skylark announces the big news on his show, the CIA pays him and Rapport a visit. Since only few people have entered North Korea, the CIA wants to seize the opportunity to have Kim Jong-un assassinated by either Skylark or Rapport. The two friends set out on a dangerous mission that creates many laughing-out-loud moments, especially since the main protagonists are highly exaggerated but manage to maintain some sort of innocence to themselves. It seems quite obvious that neither of them will be able to handle the mission accordingly but mess everything up for the worst.
Although The Interview can be seen as a parody or satire of North Korea, there are numerous scenes in which the United States are almost equally treated with self-irony …
Although The Interview can be seen as a parody or satire of North Korea, there are numerous scenes in which the United States are almost equally treated with self-irony and are picked on by Kim Jong-un for obvious American wrongdoings or get exposed by the two journalists’ own statements and their behavior. When Skylark and Rapport meet the dictator for the first time, they are surprised about his human traits and his apparently honest admiration for them. The Interview refrains from introducing Kim Jung-un as a complete villain at first, thanks to the smart written screenplay by Dan Sterling. When Skylark and Kim bond over their father’s lack of approval while playing basketball, shooting missiles from a tank to the tune of Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” and get drunk on margaritas, one is reminded of Dennis Rodman’s friendship with North Korea’s supreme leader. Once manipulated by Kim, Skylark is not too fond of the idea to assassinate his new friend in cold blood and reconsiders his mission – a welcome turn of events for Kim but a major risk for everyone else involved.
The Interview surprises with its subtle irony, spot-on sarcasm and brilliant use of pop-cultural references, especially Skylark’s obsession with The Lord of the Rings references and Kim Jong-un’s love for Katy Perry pop songs. It nicely combines the not too heavy political satire with a teasing comedy, despite the often flat humor featuring quite a number of dick-jokes and homoerotic male bonding.
Despite its risky political assassination theme The Interview is a fast-paced, politically incorrect, laughing-out-loud buddy-comedy with the right amount of irony and self-irony.