The Dictator Movie Review

This may look like a wildly irreverent satire about a North African despot, but it doesn't take long to realise that the filmmakers' target is somewhere else.

And the biting script never pulls its punches, leaping us laughing at the audacity while making a serious point.

Aladeen (Baron Cohen) is the pampered dictator of Wadiya, who travels to New York to tell the UN to stop nosing around his nuclear "energy" plants. But his Uncle Tamir (Kingsley) is plotting to kill him and replace him with a double who will sign a democratic constitution essentially selling the country to oil companies. Aladeen manages to escape, but no one recognises him cleanly shaven, so he teams up with health-food activist Zoey (Faris) and a countryman (Mantzoukas) to get his country back.

Baron Cohen and director Charles abandon the mock-doc style of Borat and Bruno for a straightforward comedy, although they still refuse to tone things down.

The on-the-bone satire takes aim at terrorism and oppression, as well as gender roles, torture and race, so our laughter is nervous from start to finish, as the punchlines feel deeply inappropriate. Although the fact that the script dares to say these things makes the film startlingly important.

Poking fun at sacred cows is urgently needed at a time when most Hollywood comedies are so bland that they barely raise a polite smile. The sequences involving cleverly re-created newscasts are hilarious in ways that the gross-out slapstick isn't. And Baron Cohen manages to bring an intriguing pathos to Aladeen that catches us off guard. He may be a brutal tyrant, but he has the soul of a little boy.

Even without the documentary format, Charles keeps the action grounded in reality, shooting on New York streets while packing in witty cameos from Megan Fox to Garry Shandling. But what makes this film worth seeing is the climactic scene, in which Aladeen breaks into a rant that echoes Charlie Chaplin's final speech in his 1940 Hitler spoof The Great Dictator. It's at this moment that the film's real theme comes into focus in a way that will probably offend American viewers, even though it really needed to be said.


Comments

hikup's picture

hikup

Can it be as shocking and funny as the other films#?

2 years 1 month ago
Report
View Comments

The Dictator Rating

" Good "

Rating: 15, 2012

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Beyonce and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tease Us With Tantalising 15 Second Teaser Clip [Video]

Beyonce teased us all over the weekend, when she shared a 15 second...

Beyonce and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Tease Us With Tantalising 15 Second Teaser Clip [Video]

Robert Downey Jr Crowned King of the Box Office

With an estimated income of $75 million between June 2013 and June 2014, Downey Jr...

Robert Downey Jr Crowned King of the Box Office

George Clooney On Getting That Tabloid Apology And Why He Had To

Ahead of his wedding to Amal Alamuddin, George Clooney has...

George Clooney On Getting That Tabloid Apology And Why He Had To

A Short History of Forgotten Destiny’s Child Member Farrah Franklin

Farrah Franklin, the forgotten fourth member of Destiny’s Child, found herself...

A Short History of Forgotten Destiny’s Child Member Farrah Franklin

Sons of Anarchy Final Season: Charlie Hunnam Spills Details

Speaking at the Television Critics Association preview night on Monday, lead actor...

Sons of Anarchy Final Season: Charlie Hunnam Spills Details

Vin Diesel Talks This Summer's Weirdest Bromance

Yet in conversation with Access Hollywood, Diesel summed up the relationship between...

Vin Diesel Talks This Summer's Weirdest Bromance
Advertisement

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

There's a new boyband on the UK pop scene who have somehow managed to storm single charts...

Rixton - Me and My Broken Heart Single Review

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Krusty the Clown may have chucked his last chuckle and played his last Itchy and Scratchy...

RIP Krusty the Clown? His 10 Best Moments

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV

After being on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, some people like to retire...

Bachelorette No Longer: Ashley And JP Rosenbaum Find Out Sex Of Baby On Live TV


More recommendations

Advertisement