COMMENTARY: I am not a film critic. I’m usually the guy they don’t want in the room. I’ve spent a long career asking tough questions and looking for chicanery in places like Sony Pictures. I was asked by my editors to attend the premiere of The Interview because of the possibility that something terrible might happen at the screening – that security might be breached, as it had been at Sony – and because everyone is wondering why Sony risked the wrath of hackers and caused itself so much grief and embarrassment just to make a silly Seth Rogen comedy. As it turned out, the film was not only the funniest movie I’ve seen in many years but also one of the ballsiest. It probably won’t win any Oscars, but it should: for the Best Set of Balls.
I laughed a lot, as did everyone else in the theater – and I mean a lot. But as I watched, I also felt a growing sense of pride that Hollywood – and America – still had the balls to go out on a limb to lampoon a dangerous and cruel dictator who has killed people for less. And I realized how brave it was of Sony Pictures, Rogen and his cohorts to make this film – something akin to poking fun at the Prophet Muhammad. And we all know how dangerous that can be. The Interview, it turns out, is not just a comedy; it’s a bold and outrageous political statement about a maniac who brainwashes, starves, imprisons and executes his people, all the while stockpiling nuclear weapons.
If North Korea is behind this cyber attack on Sony Pictures – and nobody knows yet for sure – it’s not just an attack on Sony Pictures but an attack on all of Hollywood and an attack on America. It’s a warning to every studio to be careful about the films they produce. It’s an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of thought. And it’s working. The media’s release of hacked emails not only has embarrassed Sony officials but sent a signal to everyone in town to be more careful about what they write and say in emails, because they could be the next to be hacked. These cyber terrorists have gotten everyone in Hollywood to be afraid to tell stupid jokes and say unguarded things in their personal emails. And in the end, that’s the whole point of terrorism: to make people afraid and to feel less free. That, and to take over the world so that they can not only threaten you for speaking your mind but to throw you in a gulag for doing it – just like they do in North Korea.
As I was watching The Interview, I thought that this is a film that every American should see – not just because it’s so funny but to send a message to the terrorists that we are not afraid to laugh at them. And to send a collective “f*ck you” to repressive regimes and those who commit crimes with the intent of intimidating us from freely expressing ourselves.