Best Movies of All Time + NR


Not Rated

You can watch the trailer here

Kimjongilia is a documentary directed by N.C. Heiken that brings together a series of interviews with North Korean citizens that have escaped their oppressed lives under the rule of the infamous Kim Jong-il. Each interviewee describes, in detail, the harshness of their livelihood while living in North Korea as well as the methods they took towards escaping such a hellish place.

I'm just gonna be up front about this: there's a lot wrong with this documentary that should have knocked it outta the park, both factually and emotionally. Yes, we get the facts (there's a number of screenshots that look like a high school freshman created them giving us the details of North Korea's history), and we get the emotion from a number of very good interviews, but there's a lot of intangibles about the presentation of the film that just throw everything off. The biggest portion of the film that simply seems a little off-kilter are the random scenes of interpretive dance that are thrown in from time to time. At certain points during an interview or during stock North Korean footage, a girl will come onto the screen and perform some sort of interpretive dance that is supposed to relate to what is being said; however, it rarely fits and simply took me away from the facts I was being given at that moment.

In addition, I felt as though that there wasn't enough talk of Kim Jong-il. There was much reference to his father, Kim Il-sung, but aside from a few shots of the man himself (as well as the various interviewees expressing their disdain for him), there isn't much said about the man from whom the movie takes its name. At least, not enough to warrant the name, in my opinion. Maybe you'd think otherwise.

I apologize that this is such a short review, but it's an equally short movie (barely reaching seventy minutes), so I'm okay with leaving it here. I think that this documentary had quite a bit of potential to blow the door open to a country that we're learning more and more about in today's society, but it held back just a little too much. If you're going for condemnation, then you have to go all the way, but Kimjongilia never once pushed the pedal to the metal.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: C-
1.5 Thumbs Down

2010, doc, foreign, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kimjongilia, movie review, NC Heiken, and more:

Relevant to: KIMJONGILIA + NR