The Interview is a political satire film directed by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, starring Rogan as Aaron Rapoport and James Franco as Dave Skylark.
Skylark, host of the talk show “Skylark Tonight”, discovers that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is a fan of his work.
Hoping to be taken more seriously by the journalist community, his producer Rapoport schedules an interview with Kim, only to be coerced by the CIA into an assassination plot against the supreme leader.
While the plan starts out simple, things get more complicated when Skylark starts to befriend Kim. Hijinks ensue, and the end result is a fairly juvenile comedy with a somewhat sympathetic villain and a few mild laughs here and there.
Despite the seemingly mundane nature of the film, someone clearly thought it was serious business. On Nov. 24, 2014, Sony, the parent company of distributor Columbia Pictures, was hacked. Personal information, emails between employees, and other business data were released to the public.
The hackers left behind a warning, threatening terrorism against any who would see The Interview, and claiming the world would soon “denounce the SONY”.
The United States government investigation concluded North Korea was the culprit.
“North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a US business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves,” the FBI, in a public statement, said.
Sony temporarily pulled the film, but reversed their decision after being met with criticism.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States…” President Obama, during a press conference, said.
John McCain, a senator from Arizona, shared a similar sentiment.
“By effectively yielding to aggressive acts of cyber-terrorism by North Korea, that decision sets a troubling precedent that will only empower and embolden bad actors to use cyber as an offensive weapon even more aggressively in the future,” McCain said.
North Korea, while giving praise to the hackers, denied any involvement.
“My country publicly declared that it would follow international norms banning hacking and piracy,” a North Korean diplomat said.
Some, including New York Times film critic Mike Hale, believe the film isn’t worth the controversy.
“After seeing ‘The Interview’ and the ruckus its mere existence has caused, the only sensible reaction is amazement at the huge disconnect between the innocuousness of the film and the viciousness of the response,” said Hale.
Innocuous or not, others believe the film can serve as a beacon of hope for an oppressed society. This includes a 31 year old North Korean defector, Lee Han-byeol.
“The scene of Kim’s death is significant,” Lee said for The Gaurdian. “It could give hope to people suffering from hunger and despair in North Korea.”
The Interview is currently playing at select theaters across the nation, and is available to purchase online. The film is scheduled for a Blu-ray release on February 17, 2015.