Sunday, 3 June 2012

Film Review: "The Dictator" (2012)

"Why are you guys so anti-dictators? Imagine if America was a dictatorship. You could let 1% of the people have all the nation's wealth. You could help your rich friends get richer by cutting their taxes. And bailing them out when they gamble and lose. You could ignore the needs of the poor for health care and education. Your media would appear free, but would secretly be controlled by one person and his family. You could wiretap phones. You could torture foreign prisoners. You could have rigged elections. You could lie about why you go to war. You could fill your prisons with one particular racial group, and no one would complain. You could use the media to scare the people into supporting policies that are against their interests." Brace yourself, because he's at it again with The Dictator. This comedy film co-written by and starring Sacha Baron Cohen, directed by Larry Charles, who previously directed Baron Cohen's mockumentaries Borat (2006) and BrĂ¼no (2009). It is the “heroic” story of a North African dictator, Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from the fictional country of the Republic of Wadiya, who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

The film stars Cohen, Ben Kingsley and Anna Faris. The performances in this film were shrewd and down right ridiculous, especially Sacha Baron Cohen's performance of the childish, lecherous, anti-western and antisemitic dictator Admiral General Aladeen. Who is an amalgam of actual dictators Kim Jong-il, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Saparmurat Niyazov. In this film, never in my life have I hated a character of Sacha Baron Cohen's creation so fast from the first moment of him on screen. As for Anna Farris's character of the alternative lifestyle activist Zoey, her performance was tedious and ridiculous. As for Sir Ben Kingsley's character of the traitorous uncle Tamir, I was filled with nothing but disappointment. Finally for John C. Reilly as Clayton, I also hated him as the character was nothing but a racist punk. As he remarked that Admiral General Aladeen was an Arab, when he clearly was not an Arab. Then remaking that people who were not "white" or who were outside of America were "terrorists" or "Arabs."

The Dictator gets low-fives almost all-around for being offensive in the worst possible way. Part satire, part toilet humor fest, the film stars Sacha Baron Cohen as the gleefully sexist and despicable title character on an American trek to learn more about the American nation; along the way he dredges up the seamy underbelly of American prejudice and ignorance. Now the cat is out of the bag, what will Cohen do for an encore? It is simultaneously hilarious and cringe-inducing, full of disgusting bits that you'll want to describe to your friends but will feel disgusted and immature when you do. To conclude, it may be either the funniest film or in a decade, or one of the worst film of the year.

Simon says The Dictator receives:

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