Photo courtesy of Eric Araquel.
Frantically refreshing an article on theaters showing “The Interview” I was thrilled when a nearby Huntsville theater was added to the list. A fan of satire and Seth Rogen, this film really intrigued me and I’d hoped to see it on the big screen even after all the controversial threats and major cinema chains’ decisions to pull the movie.
This flick got a lot of hype in light of the Sony hacks and the arousal of First Amendment rights debates, and, after seeing it, I believe that hype is well-deserved. “The Interview” plays an important role in our generation’s love for satirical entertainment, whether it be from John Stewart’s “Daily Show” or newspapers like Charlie Hebdo.
Parody played a major role in the film’s satirical importance. Star James Franco’s character, Dave Skylark, purposely represents former NBA player Dennis Rodman with his fast and heavy falling for the charade of the constructed realities of Kim Jong-un and the North Korean government.
The discovery of fake storefronts and falsified economic indicators serves to highlight the manipulative methods of the Supreme Leader and his regime.
Meanwhile, the displayed posh lifestyle of Kim Jong-un is compared to the desolate cities and extremely impoverished and misinformed North Korean citizens in order to make clear how exploitative the government is of its own people.
It should also be noted that the United States does not make it out of this film unscathed. The character Sook (portrayed by Diana Bang), a disenchanted higher-up within the government of North Korea, calls out the U.S. for its repeatedly disproved belief that simply killing unjust and abusive leaders will solve issues of human rights and politics. This scene changes the mission of the characters from carrying out an assassination to helping ignite a revolution. Additionally, the moment is integral to the film’s importance as a satirical work in forcing the audience to look at themselves and their compliance to ineffective solutions to injustice.
I believe this film is an important piece of cinematic satire due to its emphasis on the ridiculously cruel nature of the Kim Jong-un regime and the world’s inadequate response to this horrific reality.
The film made me want to learn more about the issues discussed within and helped me empathize, rather than sympathize, with the North Korean people, and it did so with humor to boot. In doing so, Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg brought the discussion of the human rights violations of Kim Jong-un and his government to an audience which may have otherwise been ignorant.
Journalist Robert F. Darden writes that in satire, the most difference is made when you’ve “got people laughing.” Rogen, Goldberg and the cast of “The Interview” certainly accomplished that. Hopefully, they’ll get more people talking, too.