The Interview misses the golden opportunity to bring to light the sad nature of North Korea’s political and social situation.
Photo By: Erin King, Photographer. 

By: Paige Fry, Editor-in-Chief

Controversy has risen over the recent release of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The Interview is a comedy that features Franco as a television talk show host, David Skylark, and Rogen as Aaron Rappaport, producer of the show. The plot of the movie is that both Skylark and Rappaport are surprised to find that North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un, is a big fan of their show and wants to have an interview with the duo. However, the twist is that the CIA hires the television stars to assassinate the dictator.

The traditional, raunchy comedy that Rogen displays in his movies isn’t the main concern circling around this film—the controversy is that this film pokes fun at one of the most oppressed country in the world, communist North Korea. The purpose of The Interview is for entertainment, but the movie is undeniably offensive. The United Nations is currently punishing North Korea for hacking into Sony, which was North Korea’s response to their distaste with the movie.

The Interview missed the perfect opportunity to truly expose the modern horrors of North Korea and their dictator. This movie made little-to-no attempt to display the basic human rights violations in North Korea.

The movie makes the audience sympathetic towards Kim; he is displayed as a very normal and emotional human being . Kim is a Katy Perry fan, likes margaritas, and complains about having to live up to his father’s very high standards. Skylark and Kim also bond over partying, doing drugs, cursing, and making less than proper jokes. There is even a scene of Kim crying after Skylark sings lyrics to Katy Perry’s song “Fireworks”.

In reality, under the dictatorship of Kim, North Koreans experience torture, starvation, indiscriminate disappearances, and executions on a daily basis. North Koreans are also deprived the freedom of speech, press, and religion—to even turn on the dial of a radio in North Korea could result in one’s imprisonment or execution. But in The Interview, Kim is just listening to Katy Perry and pouting over his father calling him gay.

In the movie, there are mentions of Kim starving his people, but the movie does nothing to make the audience sympathetic towards the citizens, just towards Kim. The fact that not a single scene in the movie displays the maltreatments of real-life people proves that this movie is not a satire, it’s a disgusting, inappropriate comedy.

“This movie is probably going to be incredibly politically incorrect. Seth Rogen is associated with slapstick comedy. Instead of taking the opportunity to expose the actual horrific acts in the country. I predict they’ll just make dumb jokes. I’m pretty biased though, being Korean myself. [I] might watch it just for James Franco, though,” says senior Kit Lee.

Some may argue that the film does bring North Korea into the American spotlight, which could result in a positive response to help the country. However, one of the main concerns with this ideology is that the non-critical thinking viewers who watch The Interview may reduce the citizens of North Korea into a starving, brainwashed population controlled by a crazy dictator, and regard the topic as humorous—not as a very serious and timely problem. The audience might laugh at the jokes made by Rogen and Franco, but the film doesn’t make its viewers think about the citizens who, right now, are being stripped of their basic human rights.

The impressionable American audience will be mindlessly entertained by a movie that features a country where citizens, caught with any disapproved movie, are executed publicly in front of friends and family. In fact, in 2014, as punishment for watching a disapproved movie, 80 North Koreans were executed. Typically in North Korea, the only legally approved movies are those that praise the Kims.

AP American Government teacher Mr. Robert Ash says, The Interview “seemed like another goofy comedy movie that wasn’t meant to create any harm. [Americans who watch the movie will now view North Korea] the way they viewed North Korea before, not knowing very much. Statistically not very many Americans know much about their own government, let alone North Korea.”

Overall, the film might have purposely blew up North Korea’s dictator just for free advertisement from all the controversy, considering that Kim could have easily been replaced by a made up dictator in a made up country. The Interview was another political disappointment. Instead of taking the chance to at least make a humorous satire to make Americans understand what is happening in North Korea, Rogen made another petty film.