Sunday, 3 February 2013
Film Review: The Dictator
About the film
The Dictator is a comedy film that was released on 16th May. The film is rated 15 due to strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent scenes. The film has a run time of 83 minutes.
Haffaz Alladeen is the dictator of the oil-rich (fictional) African nation of Wadiya. Alladeen is as egotistical and ruthless as dictators come, executing anyone who disagrees with him by using his signature "head chop" signal. He spends his free time collecting photos of famous American women who he has paid to have sex with him, he wins the country's Olympic games by shooting the other competitors and generally gets what he wants... apart from being Time magazine's "The Most Dangerous Man in the World".
When Alladeen is summoned by the UN to address their concerns about his nuclear program, everything begins to go wrong. Shortly after arriving, he is kidnapped by Clayton, a hitman hired by his treacherous uncle Tamir. Aladeen is replaced with a mentally-challenged body double, in order to manipulate him into signing a document democratizing Wadiya and opening the country's oil fields for business. Aladeen escapes, but his beard has been shaved off by Clayton, making him practically unrecognizable. He encounters activist Zoey who offers him a job at her alternative lifestyle co-op. Before the body double can sign away Aladeen's country and wealth, he must find a way to make himself known again and get back to his rightful place.
What I thought
Having never seen one of Sacha Baron Cohen's films or Ali G, I had no idea what I was getting myself in for when I went to see this film. However, my friend swore to me that it was hilarious and she actually came with me for her second viewing of it. She doesn't do that often at all so I decided to trust her on this one.
The film starts off by showing Admiral General Aladeen, played by Sacha Baron Cohen in his fictional homeland of Wadiya. The film opens by showing Aladeen in the kinds of crazy antics that he gets up to as a dictator and how he makes everything go his own way. The way that this film begins really does set it up for the rest of the time. Although Aladeen is a dictator, it is also shown that he has feelings too and wants normal things that everyone else has that he can't force people into doing for him. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the part amazingly and was extremely believable. While I wanted to hate him at times, I also felt sorry for him as well due to what he goes through in America. At the same time, he plays the part of the body double, who is insanely stupid, well and is a good contrast to Aladeen himself.
Playing the love interest, Zoey, is Anna Faris who is well-known for her comedy films now. Unfortunately, I don't think that this was one of her best. Here, she plays a feminist living a somewhat alternative lifestyle. With short brown hair, hairy arm pits and terrible dress sense, she just didn't seem like the right person for the role. Her comedic timing wasn't as good as it normally is and I think she overdid things a lot of the time. While this works in her other films, I don't think that this role called for it and it ruined the character somewhat for me. However, she does have good on screen chemistry with Sacha Baron Cohen and I loved seeing the two characters together. As they are so different, it provided a lot of banter and disagreements.
One of the main things about this film is that the jokes are extremely racist. If you find that you cannot handle this kind of thing or just can't find the topic funny, then this is not a film for you. As bad as it sounds, I did find these parts of the film hilarious and I was laughing so loud for most of the time. Even though the jokes are racist, I think that many of them are done in a way where a lot of people will find them funny rather than taking them as serious racist remarks. Sacha Baron Cohen has a reputation for picking on everyone and this film is no different.
The Dictator has an amazing soundtrack and this wasn't something I was expecting. Admiral General Aladeen has his own theme song; Dolly Parton's 9-5 is covered as well as REM's Everybody Hurts. While these songs are good and very catchy in another language, there is one song that is by far the best of the whole film. Dr. Dre's The Next Episode is covered as the song which runs through the credits. I went to see this film a couple of weeks ago and I still can't get it out of my head. The soundtrack is as catchy and funny as the whole film and is definitely a fantastic addition to the film.
This is one of those films that I would happily watch over and over again. Although the plot isn't extremely complicated, there is more to it than in a lot of comedy films. I really enjoyed the whole storyline and think that it was only strengthened by how funny it was as well. For me to say this is a big thing but this is by far the funniest and most entertaining film that I have seen in a long time. I can't recommend this film enough if you are a fan of gross, wrong and disturbing comedy.