What a movie. Parodying but also parading as controversial an issue as this without repercussion, when the US and North Korea were in reality almost on the brink of war... I guess they did do something similar already with Team America, but this isn't animated. Feels a little closer to the fire, and they take it even further, they actually kill Kim Jong-Un.
It's a mad movie, but such a masterpiece too.
I don't know if I've become a bit more accustomed to humor as sick and sexual as this is sometimes, or if they just do it right here, but this doesn't feel as off-putting as for example The Hangover did. There's a semblance of class to this, or is it sympathy, or something else? That there's a higher purpose even when they take things too far?
For starters the Eminem cameo at the beginning caught me by surprise - I thought they had a look-alike when they begin the scene at an angle where you can't clearly see his face, and Rob Lowe (wouldn't have known him were it not for his Hot Ones appearance - or his podcast I've been getting into recently) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's absurd and short but appreciative comedy bits. But that's just the intro, and even when they start talking about interviewing Kim it's just getting started. No way can you predict all that comes after that.
Both script and filming is on point, and when the assassination plan was first outlined I was just as skeptical about Dave's plans as Aaron was, but no way can you predict all that's to come even then. Or can you?
You might be expecting a certain level of madness, but unless you've read up on reviews beforehand I still think it'll take you by surprise. The tiger, the impeccable drone drop - quick filming of every step along the way, Kim's castle tour and intimate tank moment, or maybe most memorable of all the two bodyguards who had been with him since he was a baby dying violently in the banquet room - all these little bits build up to what's to come, a short-lived but all the more memorable because of all, interview.
You see people around the world watching, and the one North Korean family with a TV. I'm always mindful of how these world-is-watching moments to some extent add an artificial and self-gratifying level of extra reach with any particular scene, but it feels like they did it with moderation here. Only relevant parties tuned in. And meanwhile fingers are getting chomped off and what-have-you. It's sad but glorious, and I appreciate how despite the parodying they actually portray the dictator in both a humanizing and glorifying light. He goes out guns blazing, and the interview questions don't actually leave him speechless, as planned.
It's a balancing act of so many elements, and crazy comedy though it may be it feels like they catered to the world when they made this. They didn't mispronounce Pyonyang. They didn't make fun of any Korean names. They made fun of themselves, if anything, as unwilling assassins; as heros with flaws. Everyone gets their roses in one way or another, and I wonder if Kim might've seen this too (of course we would - wouldn't you?), and I wonder what he thought. I'd like to think he might've been as impressed as I was.
Felt like there was a bit much puppy-talk at the end, and James Franco's character's sometimes annoyingly oblivious or over the top, but when it's all said and done it was so wholesome, and went full circle in just the right way. You're along for the ride too. You get clued in at the right moment, and the tension keeps building appropriately.
Were this a normal movie I think I'd have given it a 4.5, but considering the premise they're well worth some extra praise.
They really went for it with this. All the way. On screen and off.
rated 5/5: friggin awesome