Film critics slam Donald Trump's fake flick

2018-06-14 12:20

Singapore - A Hollywood-style trailer US President Donald Trump played for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their Singapore summit has received decidedly mixed reviews.

The four-minute film was specially made by the National Security Council for its one-man audience, reports said.

"I thought it was good," Trump told reporters, adding he showed it to Kim on an iPad. "I think he loved it."

But many other viewers did not share his enthusiasm.

It was played on big screens ahead of his news conference, Korean version first. "No-one really knew what was going on," said one photographer in the room. "It felt like a propaganda film by the Koreans."

But when it was followed by a version with English sound, "it kind of hit us", he added. "People were quite surprised as to the tackiness of it."

Opening with a shot of Mount Paektu, the spiritual home of the Korean people and the supposed birthplace of Kim's father Kim Jong Il, the images rapidly spanned the globe to take in Rome, Egypt and Seoul.

A gravelly voice - straight out of Central Casting - proclaims that out of seven billion people on Earth, "only the very few will make decisions or take actions that renew their homeland and change the course of history".

Black and white pictures of the DemilitariSed Zone that divides the Koreas were followed by images of prosperity - food, a high-speed train and electricity pylons.

"The past doesn't have to be the future. Out of the darkness can come the light," the trailer-style voice continues. "Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity."


(Click here to watch it on Facebook)


The New York Times made a spoof version of the trailer, its voiceover declaring: "No, really, this actually happened. Trump made a fake movie trailer to deal with an actual nuclear threat."

The paper's film critic James Poniewozik said the original had a "totalitarian kitsch" style.

"It's surreal but it's no more surreal than the host of the Apprentice negotiating a nuclear deal with North Korea. This is the world we live in now," he said.

But "in a weird way" it could be appropriate, he added.

"Looking at it objectively as a piece of film and a video being used in diplomacy, it's kind of hilarious, there's so many cornball, clichéd images. But in political kitsch, often corniness and cliché is the point."


Peter Bradshaw, the film critic for Britain's Guardian newspaper, was scathing.

The Kim family, he pointed out, are movie buffs. Kim's father and predecessor was a prolific director and kidnapped a top South Korean filmmaker to help develop the North's moviemaking, said the reviewer, musing that his son "might well be a bit offended by the crudeness of this trailer".

"We're getting sold an exciting action-adventure in which the good guys (America) convince the bad guys (North Korea) to come over to the side of decency," he wrote.

But the film, he added, could be closer to Wag the Dog, Barry Levinson's 1997 satire "about cynical politicos who concoct a big foreign sideshow to distract everyone's attention from problems on the home front".

Read more on:    donald trump  |  kim jong un  |  movies

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