PYONGYANG – In what U.S. officials are calling a major correction, but many cinephiles are hailing as a terrific tour de force, “North Korea” was found this week to be nothing more than a low-budget action film.
“Oh – well … oh,” Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly said upon learning the news. “That certainly changes things. I mean – I suppose this is good news? I’m definitely going to have to watch it all again to make sure I understand.”
Like many movies passed from director to director, “North Korea” suffers from inconsistencies. Still, film critics are lauding it as a “multimedia trompe l’oeil” that, while produced on a shoestring budget, has kept millions on the edge of their seats. Employing little more than outdated military equipment and Photoshop, “North Korea” centers on Kim Jong-Un, a young, idealistic leader thrust into the spotlight after the death of his father, who believes his only option to solidify power at home is to antagonize his neighbors and world leaders – actions that could put him on a path to nuclear war.
Reaction to “North Korea” has been mixed with some calling it “a country” and others saying the film’s “atmosphere” is “exhaustingly overwrought.” Most professional critics, however, have praised the movie for its creative format, unpredictable structure and commanding lead performance. Cineaste magazine’s Geraldine Whicker said she’s enjoying the “retro-eerie verisimilitude,” and she can’t wait to find out how the ongoing project will end.
“Like ‘Mad Max’ or John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ before it, ‘North Korea’ turns its lack of funding into an asset of gritty realism,” Whicker wrote. “In a few years, this one will be a cult classic as well. I wasn’t initially sold on the against-type casting of a fat and feckless evil dictator, but he’s won me over. Mark my words: In the future, we’ll see a lot more like ‘North Korea.’”
Embarrassed East-Asian experts in Washington have been slower to come around on “North Korea” and its refuse-to-blink, multi-pronged marketing campaign. Even detractors, however, have been impressed with how a cast of thousands was faked from around eight extras. Fans and haters alike agree: “North Korea” deserves to go out with some fireworks.