What might offend a small group of people might make another group laugh. Many violent films that feature brutal death and mutilation make people laugh because it is a release of tension and suppressed desires. This is the ‘Relief theory’, this might explain why people laugh during an offensive scene because they are ‘nervous’ and cannot interact any other way. ‘Superiority theory’ can also contribute to offence because we laugh at someone else’s misfortune only to be told ‘don’t be so heartless’. So, is anything truly offensive if it’s our natural reaction to laugh?
Many films contain taboo subjects but does that make the whole film offensive? The Interview didn’t just mock North Korea in one smartly executed scene; a whole movie was made about it. However, it didn’t just offend one person, it offended a whole country. The thing that makes The Interview the most intriguing ‘offensive’ comedy film is that the subject the film was offending was largely supported. A widely recognised ‘disgusting’ movie ‘A Serbian Film’ contained offensive adult material that nobody agreed with. This is similar to an old cancelled show ‘Brass Eye’ that offended but never the less amused a small portion of society.
Certain films are only offensive in the time that they were released, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece A Clockwork Orange (1971) based on the book of the same name was banned for being too violent and promoting violence and crime in a destabilised society. Suddenly a movie that was seen as shocking and offensive soon became a five star cult classic. The Interview therefore has a lot of potential to do the same. Many people find offense in small things such as Chloe Moretz’s 13-year-old Kick Ass (2010) character swearing, what people find offensive is simply an actor portraying a character in a universe that has that attitude and use of bad language. People have a right to take offense to things; of course they do, but it’s still somebody’s point of view and although that may not be agreed with, it should never be obsolete due to someone else’s disliking.