From the first moment I heard a plot synopsis for the movie “The Interview” I was concerned. I was a little unsure that I had heard correctly and that this was to be a film in which a sitting world leader was to be assassinated for the greater good of comedy.
Now, I want to make it clear form the start that I’m no fan of Kim Jong Un in the same way I wasn’t exactly a fan of Kim Jong Il.
In my mental filing and categorisation system the Kim Jong dynasty is filed away into the draw marked “Best eradicated” along with Ebola, Aids, the Bush family, Republicans and sprouts!
(you really don’t want to get me started on my hatred for those evil, mutant cabbages or about sprouts)
So, as I said, not a fan. I think the whole family needs toppling and hope that one day Korea will be reunited and the South can shine some light on the darkest corners of the North. Or, just supply the poor North Koreans with some food so they’re not starving.
I’m also, on the whole, not a fan of either Seth Rogen or James Franco, but, they’re not in quite the same category… They’re in with things like herpes. Something that won’t go away but you can live with it and whilst it causes some irritation it’s probably not going to kill you.
With the pair’s latest offering, however, I feel they have truly crossed a line of taste and basic human decency. I cannot quite explain why the cinematic portrayal of the fantasy assassination of a sitting leader of a foreign power, even one whom I despise and would not object to being actually assassinated, drums up such outrage, yet, it does.
There was recently a film in which the Americans had a bit of a war with some Chinese. It was called red war or dawn or line or something equally generic. They, the makers, producers, etc. then thought about the consequences of potentially offending the government and people of the worlds largest growing economy, an economy that holds 1 in 5 of the worlds population and they sensibly swapped everything over to portray the villains as North Korean.
Now, from the depths of imagination, comes this piece in which Kim Jong Un must be killed.
I have tried very hard to find another figure to substitute for the unfortunate Un which Sony pictures would find also acceptable as pariah and deserved victim of a death on the big screen without success.
Try it for yourself, is there another living figure who it would be acceptable to assassinate on celluloid? Even Osama was shot before they shot his shooting.
Americans are lining up outside cinemas to see this film and I’m certain this pattern will be followed across Europe, though to a lesser extent, but, what if it were Obama or Cameron? Well, they inherited wars so, what if it were Tony Blair or George Bush as the victim? Despite the many deaths their actions have caused we’d still be lining up outside the cinema that’s for certain, but, forming lines of protest against such a grotesque plot not lines for tickets.
If a film came from Iran in which the next Republican leader of the United States became the target of an Arabian peninsula plot that forced two journalists of historical Persian descent to assassinate the US President, the self-termed “leader of the free world”, to prevent any more unsanctioned invasions of Muslim lands there’d be riots in the streets and perhaps congress would even authorise a light spot of retaliatory bombing.
What if Palestinian film-makers produced a movie in which Netanyahu must be murdered?
Do you think that’s going to go on general release, be reviewed in the Guardian and on BBC world or would Palestinians again find themselves cowering under tables and doorways as the heavens opened and explosives rained down?
There is always an accepted line drawn between fact and fiction and rules on their mixing.
Using real people, in fake scenarios without their express permission has always been a no-no. This is no cameo or walk on; this is a central role for a living figure in a work of fantasy in which they are “justifiably” murdered.
Really, can it be anything other than unethical, immoral, misguided and antagonistic?
Is the release of this film an indication of where American standards have slipped to and indicative of the complete lack of conscience now being shown in the business practices of giant corporations.
Or am I just living in the wrong century?
Maybe I should make a film in which a crazy foreign dictator decides to sue one of the worlds largest entertainment corporations in US court for the hurtful and malicious portrayal of him in a film. He will give statement as to how much emotional pain he has suffered and how the worldwide attention has scarred him on a deep emotional level.
A movie where, thanks to the oddities of US law, the dictator wins with such a huge award that he finds himself in control of said entertainment powerhouse and sets about making a series of cheerful musicals deifying himself and his family.
He goes on to appoint himself ‘Great and Eternal President for life’ of the company, that being a position for the life of the company, one he’ll hold even after his own death and he sires many strong handsome male children.
The film ends when he fulfils a lifetimes ambition by becoming the third judge on X-factor renowned for his benevolent childish face and his humourous method of feeding the worst contestant each week to a pack of dogs.
Brad, Damon, Chun-Yow, you guys call me, ok? Let’s make it happen.