I’m going to be absolutely honest: When I first saw the trailer for The Interview, it did feel slightly off to me. I know, I know – hindsight this, hindsight that – but it did.
Parodying Kim Jong-Un, a living dictator, in such a broad fashion seemed extremely provocative. It was weird enough when Hitler was parodied and made to be a fool in Inglourious Basterds, and he’s dead, as well as unoquivocally considered to be one of the most evil people to ever have lived.
Something about making comedy and lightness out of genuinely morbid figures seems medieval to me. A bit uncivilised. Like a farcical play in 16th Century Britain where the bad guys wear silly hats and get booed.
It’s all well and good me saying this now, AFTER The Interview has become the epicentre of a political storm and been pulled from every cinema worldwide. Frankly, my voice will be lost amongst millions of others on the morality of the movie and the validity of branding it’s cancellation ‘cencorship’.
What I’d like to flag right now, before it gets out of hand, is the misplaced mystique beginning to surround The Interview.
Upon cancellation of the movie’s release Twitter erupted with celebrities stating they will try their hardest to see the movie as soon as possible, or be ‘first in line’ upon its eventual release. This suggests that The Interview as a movie stands for much more than silly Hollywood comedy. It suggests that by being cancelled (or censored), it gathers appeal and a restricted allure as inevitably as a rolling snowball gathers more snow.
This is NOT the case. The Interview is not a monumental comedy. It is not trying to make a political point, or fashion an intricate and satirical dance around international current affairs. It is NOT Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Life of Brian, famously, was similarly censored (albeit not as widely) in counties, states and sometimes even whole countries upon its release in 1979. The very act of restricting its release along with hugely positive word coming from the few who had managed to see it combined to create an earthquake of interest that rippled throughout the globe, so much so that people scrambled to see it at all costs.
Of course, when they did eventually see it, all the controversy was forgotten and replaced with adoration for a seminal piece of comedy film-making. Life of Brian remains one of the greatest comedy films ever made.
I haven’t seen The Interview. But I have seen pretty much every other film involving Seth Rogen. If I imagine, hypothetically speaking, that ANY of his previous works for some reason provoked a foreign leader, or sympathisers of a foreign leader, to launch a cyber attack on the movie and halt its release, I can’t seem to draw up ANY of them that would have been worth so much interest and hype.
Imagine if The Green Hornet had irritated Putin. Or if Funny People had really ticked off Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. After to-ing and fro-ing, the movie was finally able to be seen. The occasion wouldn’t be momentous, hilarious and significant, on the scale of Life of Brian – it would have been an anticlimax. It would have been:
‘Oh. This is it?’
While the Life of Brian was reasoned and intelligent, The Interview seems clumsy…heavy handed – and that’s just from the trailer (watch below). So don’t start trying to make The Interview some emblem for democracy, some badge of rebellion that we all crave to wear. Because it’s not. It’s just a silly little Hollywood comedy that has found itself in the middle of a big old news story.
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