Taking full advantage of access granted by the government of North Korea, the mysterious and feared rogue state of the so-called "axis of evil," director Daniel Gordon (A STATE OF MIND) combines historical footage with contemporary interviews to both uncover the Kim-Jong Il regime and end 44 years of secrecy and rumor by allowing Dresnok to tell his own story.
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Even though you often want to grab Dresnok and shake him, this hypnotic and illuminating documentary offers a rare on-the-ground peek at life in Pyongyang, albeit from an elevated position. Dresnok does not strike me as a complete liar, but a fool is never hard to spot in any case. Unpretentious, sad, and very well made.
I found this movie certainly more than interesting enough. It develops some dramatic stories, but overall is a markedly kind of "low key" taken as a whole. Actually, this seems to suit the adapting personal style of the big guy "Joe who is the principle subject of the film.
Ok the music really bugged me sometimes. There was a hospital monitor type "beep" for the first 3-4 minutes, and it recurred at intervals. I found it not only distracting but quite irritating. Also I guess my pet peeve long voiceovers over minimally valuable or even pointless footage. I'm hard of hearing, is why. Need to see the lips moving. Still, a montage from camera POV going up several flights of stairs eg probably annoyed many non hearing impaired audience members. Actually this movie was far better than many at managing voiceovers, so can't complain too much.
Being a person who is basically anti-nationalist in general feeling people ought to be free to move across borders at their own whim, I suppose this movie doesn't carry the same weight of anxieties as might be felt on the part of a more patriotic sort. The dramatic weight such as it was for me had to do with... how this person's life managed to pan out over there, devoid of any resentment toward Joe.
I do recommend it also that in addition you really must be sure to see the 'related film', "Kimjongilia" also available here on Fandor.
Like all good docs on the DPRK...sad, creepy, informative. The hatred/brainwashing of Joe - the former American soldier - is especially telling. Despite the atrocities of the regime he - like a NK politician - accepts the burden of suffering the poor suffer to maintain his way of life.
The image of a starving and highly regulated people, relentless portrayed by American media and government sources, is highly questioned by this film. For the first time in my decades of exposure to what I have always suspected was American propaganda mixed with half-truths, I got to see a more realistic portrayal of the nuanced reality of Korean life and a more truthful image of American desertion which could be reframed as American escape from a different oppression in the US.
The narrative was a little scattered but a fascinating story nonetheless.
This was an intriguing look at life on the other side. I am not sure how much is propaganda. But the film itself is interesting. I didn't realize that there were American defectors to North Korea. I learned something!
pretty good if yr into North Korea documentaries. or if yr into other stuff. whatever. i liked it
This is a movie (documentary) about a U.S. Army soldier who defected to North Korea in 1962. The documentary is an interview of him where he talks about his life and experiences as an American traitor there.
This movie had literally and metaphorically so many shades of gray, my moral sensibilites were severely strained. The pace of the movie, although at a moderate 'walk' was compelling. The photography took me into a world I have not seen - so different and familiar at the same time. Well worth interrupting my tight schedule of things I must do.