Shortly before Christmas Sony Entertainment caused massive controversy with the new James Franco and Seth Rogan collaboration, check The Interview. The premise of the film revolves around an American talk show host and his ambitious producer who are given the opportunity to visit Kim Jung Un for the interview of a lifetime. Unfortunately, cheap the interview is hijacked by the CIA who manipulates Dave Skylark (James Franco) and Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogan) to assassinate The Supreme Leader Kim Jung Un (Randal Park).
The premise caused great upset in North Korea, as it was seen as a direct and deliberate threat against their nation. The back and forth of questions of freedom of speech versus the right to offend versus hate-mongering resulted in Sony Pictures scheduling a limited release of the film followed by a major online release. It is currently on Netflix and a number of other web-based media servers. The amount of attention the limited release received is positively mind-boggling with North Korea promising “stern” and “merciless” retaliation should the film receive a full release. The film is set to be released in the UK and Ireland in early February. Around the time of the original release, Sony experienced an extensive hack and leak of internal e-mails. The group who claimed responsibility “the Guardian’s of Peace”, demanded that Sony pull “the movie of terrorism.” In leaked emails between Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Layton and Bruce Bennett, a defence analyst for RAND Corporation, they defend the film saying that the people of North Korea need to see the reality of starvation and prison camps which is orchestrated by the North Korean Government and their supposedly infallible leader..
So is the movie actually worth watching? It depends on what you look for in a cinema experience, if you want coarse and crude humour, then by all means watch The Interview. Seth Rogan is probably the most enjoyable person in the film, whereas James Franco comes off more annoying than ever before. There is rampant racism, objectification, and sexism. The amount of crudely hammered together sexual jokes would be more than enough to make the cast of Carry On violently ill. If you can put up with James Franco’s vulgarity and ignore the ear-bleedingly bad soundtrack then it passes for a painfully average Frat pack movie. It isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen but then again I’ve seen some pretty terrible movies. Rating 2 out of 5.
– Cillian Fearon