Friday, 18 May 2012

REVIEW: The Dictator (15)

It seemed somewhat appropriate going to see Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy about a tyrannical despot on the day that the British monarch entertained several of the world's most evil oppressors as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

I've not always liked Sacha Baron Cohen's creations: Borat was a sketch stretched to breaking point to fill a movie and Brüno was just boring but I have to say I really enjoyed The Dictator.

Yes, it has many tasteless jokes and pushes the boundaries of what's acceptable, and, yes, there are moments when you'll be asking yourself "Did he really just say that?" but, somehow, it all sits comfortably within the plot.

The film opens with a graphic saying "In Memory of Kim Jong-Il" and, superficially, it is the world's autocracies that are the butt of MU h of the humour. However, the real target is America, American politics and the greed of global corporations. For me the funniest scene is towards the end of the movie when Aladeen gives a speech saying about how bad democracy is compared to a dictatorship - but all the positives of a dictatorship are things carried out by recent American presidents.

The actual plot owes a lot to Eddie Murphy's Coming to America - it's the whole fish out of water, lost in New York story again - and, quite frankly, the romance storyline could be ditched, but the plot has direction and is more than just pegs to connect comic skits, which, ultimately, was Borat's downfall.

The Dictator is only 83 minutes long too. It does what it does without being dragged out unnecessarily.

Some will find it offensive, others will love it. I really enjoyed it.


  1. Is it offensive, mean, and deliberately cruel to the people it's poking fun at? Yes. Is it funny? Definitely. When you go into a Cohen film, you have to realize what you're going to get ahead of time and that's what I got. Good review Robert.

  2. Nice review of the movie.

    Check out my review .