North Korean leader Kim Jung-un is widely viewed as one of the most alarming and unpredictable figures on the global stage. Poverty reigns across the region, the military stands at a permanent war-ready stance, and the country's nuclear arsenal appears to be growing by the day in spite of deeply inhibiting sanctions. This frightful dynamic wasn't achieved by one man alone. After years of researching and cajoling, this documentary brings these shadowy enablers into the light.
How can one of the poorest countries on the planet still manage to afford their own nuclear arsenal? The filmmakers convince several whistleblowers to share their stories - from the bankers who served at the highest level of the government treasury to the lowliest servants who withstood great abuse in order to protect their loved ones.
With great risk to their own lives and the lives of their families, many have fled to nearby South Korea for asylum. They know the menace of the crooked North Korean regime all too well.
Some testify to being sent abroad to engage in backbreaking work. They never see a paycheck because their salaries are sent directly to their Supreme Leader. These workers are spread out over Poland, the Ukraine, Mongolia and other territories the world over. Even in these distant locations, Kim Jung-un's grip is still palpable; the workers aren't allowed to associate with others who might encourage them to see through the falsity of their leader's propaganda.
The money filters through a series of sham companies. A complicated organization has been established within the regime to manage, distribute and obscure these funds. Ultimately, a significant percentage of these dollars are invested into producing more ambitious nuclear weapons. Desperate to bully respect from international leaders, Jung-un believes these doomsday devices represent the ultimate bargaining chip.
North Korea: All the Dictator's Men provides a rare and harrowing look inside the enigmatic North Korean regime. The film presents a series of individual portraits that combine to tell a troubling and inhumane whole. In the eyes of the regime's most ardent supporters, the oppression of the North Korean people seems a small price to pay for world domination.