The Interview

A few days ago, when I posted my year-end Top Ten, I included a Special Mention to “The Interview”, sight unseen, because I felt it was one of the most important movies of 2014 if only because motherfucking terrorists were trying to stop us from watching it. I won’t go into the whole saga surrounding the Sony hacks and whatnot, but the fact is that in the end, the movie was released in a few hundred independent U.S. theatres as well as online on sites like YouTube. Freedom!

Finally watching the movie on Christmas Eve was particularly thrilling at first because it’s like this forbidden thing that we get to enjoy, we’re all like, fuck North Korea, right? Still, in the end, you’re probably wondering whether “The Interview” is any good, beyond all the controversy.

Well, it starts out promisingly enough already, establishing James Franco as Dave Skylark, a popular but trashy celebrity interviewer, and Seth Rogen as Aaron Rapoport, Skylark’s producer, who wishes he was working on more serious news. We also get glimpses of North Korea right from the get-go, what with all the America hating, threats of missile launches, etc.

Before long, everything comes together, as a Skylark Tonight interview is set up with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). And then a little while later, a CIA agent (Lizzy Caplan) approaches Skylark and Rapoport, convincing them to “take out” the North Korean dictator when they meet him…

One thing that struck me early on is how good the film looks. Shooting in 2.35:1 widescreen, cinematographer Brandon Trost doesn’t settle for an everyday comedy look. This often seems like a spy thriller visually, even though there is a lot of foul-mouthed, gross-out goofiness going on.

Overall, “The Interview” is pretty funny, thanks to Rogen (who also directed the film with Evan Goldberg) and Franco, a truly winning comic duo. Among other things, I enjoyed the sequence in which Skylark parties with Kim Jong-un and becomes best bros with him, bonding over Katy Perry’s Fireworks, margaritas, pussy… But of course, he eventually realizes that he truly is a cruel, manipulative dictator and that he must die!

Ultimately, the story surrounding the release of “The Interview” is probably more provocative than the movie itself. But if you’re a fan of Franco/Rogen, you should still have a good time watching it.