The most germane portion of “Inside North Korea’s Dynasty,” however, is the second half, when President George W. Bush’s “access of evil” speech following the Sept. 11 attacks, coupled with the invasion of Iraq, convinced Kim Jong Il that nuclear weapons represented “the one thing that could guarantee his regime’s survival.”
As the film demonstrates, Kim Jong Un’s ascent after his father’s death in 2011 brought its own array of outrages and oddities, including the murders of his uncle and half-brother and, in a considerably lighter vein, his strange friendship with Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman.
Over a year in the making, the documentary presents plenty of previously unseen or little-seen footage as it seeks to frame the larger issues, noting that North Korea’s current leader can’t be understood “without understanding the family into which he was born.”
“Inside North Korea’s Dynasty” concludes with Kim Jong Un’s summit with President Trump, a diplomatic coup that eluded his father and grandfather. While the story doesn’t offer any reassuring solutions as to what comes next, as is so often said of history, North Korea’s past truly does seem to be prologue.
“Inside North Korea’s Dynasty” will air Nov. 11 and 18 at 9 p.m. on National Geographic Channel.