Note: Ahead of President Trump’s press conference on Tuesday, the White House showed a trailer describing the decision North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now appeared to face: lead his country into a great future or into destruction. The company behind it? “Destiny Productions” — a company made up by the White House, even though a small U.S. production company with the same name does exist.
Journalists initially suspected the video to be propaganda, but Trump later posted it on his Twitter account. He had previously shown it to Kim — who himself remarked earlier during the summit that many people may think of their meeting as being “from a science fiction movie.” So maybe it’s time to treat this whole summit like a movie — and review it.
“A Very Special Bond,” released June 2018
Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump may have spent much of their careers lashing out at each other, but after months of compliments — and Trump’s early nomination for a top honor by his own supporters — the two saw a rare chance to finally team up for their first joint project. Both have already indicated that they might be interested in expanding their on-screen partnership.
Top or flop?
In their debut, Kim Jong Un (played by Kim Jong Un) and Donald J. Trump (played by Donald J. Trump) deliver a powerful political statement about international politics that could hardly be timelier. Described by some viewers as bizarre, “A Very Special Bond” may be received both as a message of hope and as a warning of how easily authoritarian rulers can restore their international standing.
As in many Trump and Kim movies, a little less may have been more. It’s scenes like Kim trying to take a glimpse at the inside of Trump’s Cadillac that unnecessarily blur the lines between thriller and dark comedy.
Set in a future United States ruled by President Trump, a former reality TV star, and in an authoritarian North Korea led by Kim Jong Un, also known as “Little Rocket Man” to his critics, “A Very Special Bond” tracks an unlikely partnership between the two leaders — both of whom have become increasingly isolated on the world stage.
The movie starts slowly, with months of tiring back-and-forth with a real-time display of Trump’s Twitter feed in a corner of the screen. Trump tweets lines such as “It won’t happen,” only to later find out that it had happened: Kim tested nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
That sets the scene for former basketball star Dennis Rodman to travel to North Korea and give Kim a copy of Trump’s “The Art of the Deal,” but he too fails to stop Kim’s provocations. In a nail-biting sequence, Kim and Trump compare the sizes of their nuclear buttons and threaten each other with destruction. After their posturing, they agree that it would be better to talk first. The world breathes a sigh of relief.
Yet nothing is easy in this thriller, and in a dramatic turn, Trump suddenly cancels their scheduled meeting after North Korea calls his deputy a “political dummy,” once more throwing the fate of the world into doubt.
The movie plot may strike some viewers as unlikely, especially with its exaggerated happy ending that has Trump and Kim shaking hands ahead of a private stroll through Singapore gardens, while Rodman weeps with joy on U.S. television.
It is only then that Trump delivers his famous words, claiming to have “developed a very special bond” with Kim. The line could be understood as a reference to an earlier hit Trump released just days before in which one of his advisers condemns former U.S. ally and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a “very special place in hell.”
So Trump and Kim commit to decrease tensions, but ultimately the ending is left somewhat open, offering plenty of room for that Hollywood staple, the blockbuster sequel.
Trump and Kim both convince with a performance that could hardly be any closer to reality.
Most of Trump’s praise for Kim may strike observers who are aware of North Korea’s human rights record as inappropriate. Despite its concessions on nuclear matters, the Kim regime is still accused of incarcerating tens of thousands of prisoners under inhumane conditions in camps that have been compared to Nazi concentration camps by judges and U.N. experts.
Trump on Tuesday defended himself against such criticism, saying that “we did discuss it today, pretty strongly. … We’ll be doing something on it. It’s rough in a lot of places.”
Will there be a follow-up?
Almost certainly, yes. Quite possibly, it will be set in the White House.