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The Interview

3 February 15 words: Ashley Carter
Rogen and Franco plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in this 'comedy'
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If the recent barbaric attacks in Paris have reiterated anything to a generally apathetic general public, it’s that the place of satire in a free society is not only necessary, but vital in breaking the taboo of dangerous ideologies. When looking for figureheads for this particular struggle, Seth Rogen isn’t the first name that comes to mind. The Pineapple Express star inadvertently made himself the front man for freedom of expression with his latest film, The Interview that, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, heavily features a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The response from North Korea would have been hilarious had it not been so terrifyingly real, with reports from the country explaining that the film was seen as an act of war. Sony, the company behind The Interview, were hacked in an enormous attack that saw countless confidential emails leaked, including conversations between Rogen and censors debating just how much of Jong Un’s burning hair and face would be acceptable to show. Terrorist threats were made against both Sony and any cinema brave enough to screen the film.

There was little surprise when Sony caved and announced the film would not get a theatrical release.  Widespread cries of cowardice and bowing to terrorist demands were aimed at the company. But these are litigious times we live in, and even the slightest mishap at any screening of The Interview would have seen both Sony and the cinema chain sued out of existence by potential victims. We all want to make righteous stands, and these acts of defiance are only worth anything when there is something at stake. But with stakes that high, Sony had little choice but to pull the release.

Intervention from Barack Obama saw the film get a smaller release on VOD, and Netflix have since emerged as the largest online platform to feature the film. The stage was set for the world to finally see the film that caused one of the biggest international incidents in modern history. And sadly, it stinks.

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Seth Rogen is as Seth Rogeny as usual, playing the likeable Aaron Rapaport, the producer for long running chat show ‘Skylark Tonight’, hosted by Dave Skylark (James Franco). After being granted an exclusive interview with Kim Jong Un, who happens to be a fan of the show, they are tasked with the charge of killing the despot. The paper-thin storyline is stretched to breaking point and further, padded out with lazy, half-written jokes and a truly abysmal performance by James Franco.

I don’t know of many myths in Hollywood bigger than James Franco’s talent. He’s as close of a representation of the Emperor’s New Clothes as you’re ever likely to find. There’s a line in the HBO series Entourage that describes Colin Farrell as “only a movie star because everyone says he is”, and nothing can more accurately be used to describe Franco. As an actor he’s average, but as a comedy actor he is truly horrific. Like Ben Affleck or Jenny McCarthy spouting their ill-thought out opinions on television, he reeks of being surrounded by yes-men constantly telling him he’s hilarious. He isn’t. And coupled with a shoddily cobbled together script, he’s painful to watch.

It’s desperately depressing to see a film offered such an opportunity to make a statement on a platform offered to few others, even if it was not their own doing, make such little impact artistically, creatively or comedically. It’s important that this film could be made, and ever more vital that it has now been shown to the public. However, you can’t help but feel devastated at seeing the final product so despairingly fail to rise to the occasion.  

The Interview will be showing at Nottingham cinemas from Friday 6 February 2015.

The Interview Official Website

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