Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Interview

The Interview: comedy, USA, 2014; D: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, S: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang

Dave Skylark is the host of the super-popular talk show, "Skylark Tonight". One day, his producer, Aaron, gets an offer to make an interview with Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea. Dave and Aaron accept, but are persuaded by the CIA to poison Jong-un and assassinate him. Once in Pyongyang, Jong-un manages to sway Dave into believing that the country is OK, until he finds out that everything is faked. Dave makes a live, globally broadcast interview with Jong-un, and exposes his mismanagement of North Korea. With the help of dissident Sook-yin, they board a tank and hit the helicopter with Jong-un inside. This causes the overthrow of the government and first democratic elections ever.

After an alleged North Korean hacking of the production company Sony and threats to any cinema that would screen the film, the campaign backfired and "The Interview" became the most worldwide talked about film of the year and gained instant cult status - the wave of solidarity was mirrored even in the fact that it became the only film with a 10.0/10 rating on IMDb for a couple of weeks. All the fuss was definitely exaggerated: had the same kind of overdramatization been applied in "The Naked Gun", where in the opening L. Nielsen comically beats up Gaddafi, Idi Amin, the Ayatollah, Castro and Ceausescu, there would have been a backlash from a quarter of the world. However, without all the hype, "The Interview" would have been forgotten fairly quickly: the opening 20 minutes are brilliant (from the opening song where a North Korean girl sings about the "damn Americans", wishing their "women should be raped by beasts from the jungle" up to the quietly hilarious, genius cameo by Eminem in the talk show, where the host reads his lyrics about an old lady aloud: "Why you drive so slow for? Don't you wanna get where you're going faster, since you'll probably die tomorrow?"), but after that it all goes downhill when the rest of the film consists almost entirely out of typically crude, tasteless and vile jokes, and thus mediocrity takes over. One would have wished that the authors would have come up with more imaginative jokes at Kim Jong-un than just the leader having a harem with women, drinking alcohol and farting. After the good Stalin joke ("In my country, it is pronounced Stallone"), the next 40 minutes there is nothing more to write home about, and an empty walk without inspiration ensues, until it finally ends with an - admittedly inspired - finale featuring Katy Perry's song "Fireworks". However, just for the bravery and sheer audacity, something rarely seen in American film at that time, "The Interview" has sympathies, and has a few crumbs of ingenuity, such as the finale featuring Scorpions' song "Wind of Change". B. Wilder's settlement of accountes with pseudo-communism in comedy classics "Ninotchka" and "One, Two, Three" still remains an untouched ideal, though.


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