Postmodernism in The Interview

2/03/2016 April 0 Comments

The Interview is a 2014 film best known for the controversy that it caused. In June 2014, The Guardian reported that the film had "touched a nerve" within the "notoriously paranoid" North Korean government. North Korea regarded the release of the film as "an act of war". The North Korean government threatened action against the US if Columbia Pictures released the film. This brought up issues over freedom of speech and the North Korean government challenging freedom of speech. As a result of the threat the film was pushed back to December and reportedly re-edited. The group "Guardians of Peace" those responsible for the Sony hack who had ties to North Korea, threatened terrorist attacks against cinemas that showed the film. As a result major cinema chains opted not to release the film. Instead Sony released it for online rental and purchase on December 24th, followed by a limited cinema release the  next day. 
Due to not being released in cinemas and the controversy surrounding it The Interview only grosses $11 million at the box office but grossed over $40 million in digital rentals. 

There are many different postmodern themes in the film The Interview, the main postmodern theme in the film is hyperreality. Hyperreality suggests that because everyone is exposed to different forms of news and media we all have a different view of the world which is not always a reflection of reality, In The Interview a hyperreality of the world and especially North Korea is being created. It is not known what is in North Korea or what polices they have, for this reason the rest of the world is left to guess what is in North Korea from what little we see of it. In the film a very Americanised view of North Korea is given. Some points that are made are obviously for comedy purposes, such as Kim Jong Un being a fan of Katy Perry, but other points are just the speculation of what North Korea is like by Americans. A further use of hyperreality in the film is the fake CIA that they have created. They make the CIA in the film live up to the expectations of the public and similar to what they have seen in other films or in the news. Because it is unknown what North Korea is really like filmmakers had to speculate. As a result they have based North Korea upon brutalist Russian architecture and they use propaganda similar to that used by Russia in this period. 

The Interview also uses parody to make fun of television newscasters and newscasters of trivial pop culture news. James Franco plays a newscaster for a fake news channel Skylark Tonight. To make the channel seem more real and to become hyperreal they use real celebrity cameo in the film. Various celebrates are seen on the fake show parodying themselves such as Eminem and Joseph Gordon Levitt. They attempt to create a hyperreality by putting the fake news programme alongside real news/interview shows. They also get real newscasters to comment on Skylark and the fake news channel when the news breaks in the film that he has landed an interview with Kim Jong Un. 
They use parody throughout the film. It has been styled in a similar way to popular action films like Mission Impossible or James Bond, but it has been styled in a humorous parody way rather than as a homage to the films or a pastiche. 

The film also uses intertextuality in the film and references pop culture. Lord of the Rings is mentioned numerous times by the main characters as metaphor for their relationship. James Franco's character often uses Frodo and Sam as a metaphor for his and Seth Rogan's character. He also compares North Korea to Mordor. Another feature of postmodernism seen in the film is the use of technology to move on a narrative. They use search engines such as google to look up fake news to move on the narrative. Another postmodern feature used in the film is self reference. There is a scene where the CIA go to the flat and try to get them on their side. The film has been stylised in a way which could be seen as sexist and stereotypical. They're seen staring at the woman inappropriately, this is later referenced by the characters in the film when Seth Rogan's character suggests that they are being 'honey potted'. The film is also self reflective as it talks about issues with the media and news and how it is not know what is real and what is not. It tackles the exact issues that the film creates. 

Another postmodern part of the film is the rise of pop culture and that pop culture could be responsible for the fall of the dictator. Kim Jong Un is seen in the film as being obsessed with celebrity and pop culture. Pop culture is referenced throughout the film, Miley Cyrus is mentioned in passing and there is confusion by James Franco's character between Stalin and the Sylvester Stallone. Part of the reason for the films controversy is that there is now boundaries on the jokes that are made in the film.  

The film could also be associated with the loss of the meta-narratives. Traditional universal stories of which people base their beliefs, such as the bible, have been replaced by place specific narratives. It is suggested that in North Korea people see Kim Jong Un as being like God.