Release Date: August 10th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by Kino International.
Directed by Daniel Gordon.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about James Dresnok, a U.S. soldier who had once defected to North Korea where he still lives today.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Back in 1962, U.S. soldier James Dresnok decided to walk away from the de-militarized section of Korea where his unit had been stationed at. He crossed into the prohibited territory known as the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) in North Korea. Three other soldiers also defected eventually. This intriguing and provocative documentary, narrated by Christian Slater, focuses on the experiences of Dresnok from his childhood as an orphan in Virginia up until his current daily life in North Korea. With vivid detail, Dresnok recalls how he escaped from his unitís post in South Korea to start a new life in North Korea in a town called Pyongyang. Itís amazing how he has adjusted quite well thereóhe even speaks fluent Korean. Director Daniel Gordon does an exceptional job of humanizing Dresnok with many interviews and footage of him interacting with other Koreans. It becomes a bit more intense when Dresnok discusses how another defector, namely Charles Robert Jenkins, who lives in Japan, tried to get him in trouble by wrongly accusing him of physical abuse. It would have been more powerful, though, to include more synthesis of all of these events rather than merely presenting them in a linear structure without hearing what experts, such as political scientists, might think. Director Daniel Gordon, instead, puts the burden on you as the viewer to come to your own conclusions about whether or not Dresnok did the right thing by defecting to North Korea. Fortunately, there are enough interesting interviews here to keep you intrigued and absorbed. .
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Itís quite poignant when Dresnok recalls how he left his family to start a new life in North Korea. He clearly feels at home in Pyongyang, but, at the same time, he misses his family back in Virginia.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Fascinating, provocative and compelling.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "C" Menu