Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in PyongYang
In which extrovert non-conformist Dennis Rodman offers North Korean despot Kim Jong-un a visit of an NBA All-Stars basketball team for his birthday.
Rodman is an unlikely friend for Kim Jong-un but for reasons which are never confirmed (obviously), the North Korean leader is happy to be seen smiling and hugging Rodman – at least until the basketball star falls off the wagon big style and creates a highly embarrassing scene in front of welcoming dignitaries.
While Rodman believes he’s doing this “to open the doors” (and there’s no doubt that the young Korean sportsmen will remember this for the rest of their lives), he is oblivious to the wider political picture and unable to cope with the inevitable criticism he receives. The same can be said of the players who support him, though presumably they are also receiving a lot of money (although no mention is made).
There are some beautiful images of North Korea and of PyongYang and its grand architecture. But despite the euphoria towards the end, not just Rodman but the whole film manages to avoid mentioning the repression endured by the ordinary people of a North Korea, and missed an opportunity in my opinion.
Still, one of the best images I’ve seen in recent times has to be Rodman riding through The Vatican in a Popemobile. You had to be there.