Posted by: greercn | May 18, 2012

The Dictator

Oh dear. I enjoyed this so much that I fear my tastes are now drifting towards those of 18-year-old men. Clearly this movie, like all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s oeuvre, is aimed at them and not at me.

This is Sacha as a comic master of political satire, while never straying from populism. That’s quite a neat trick.

But, reader, I fell off my chair laughing. Sacha with an actual good and funny script? And it’s just about as politically incorrect as you could possibly imagine? There is no joke about excrement or body hair that is ignored?

It’s hilarious. I am not convinced by “Ali G” or “Bruno” but I did laugh this hard at “Borat” while cringing about the possibility of leaking brain cells each time I fell about giggling.

In my anecdotage, I am regressing to a stage of enjoying the baser pleasures that I skipped at the more appropriate age of 13, in my urge to grow up quickly.

Film buffs will notice there’s some nice homage to Charlie Chaplin’s magnificent “The Great Dictator”. Yes, that’s a far superior movie, but who cares, while you are watching this? That’s a thought for your reflection, afterwards.

The sheer joy of collapsing in loud gales of laughter at the best 9/11 jokes ever – set in a helicopter and everyone in the packed Stratford Picturehouse fell out of their seats with conniptions of giggles and looked ashamed afterwards – makes up for the real silliness and stupidity here.

How Ben Kingsley ended up in this is unimaginable. Is he trying to get down with the kids in the ‘hood? I suspect the answer is “cash”.

Anna Faris and John C Reilly are okay. Larry Charles directs crisply.

But this belongs to Sacha Baron Cohen and what works here is good because of his comic vision. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I enjoyed “21 Jump Street”, because I have North American rather than British tastes. Having said that, it’s only 88 minutes long and aimed at the young American market and not at anyone else.

I think it will work in the USA because it allows Americas to laugh at the Axis of Evil, whle feeling rather clever.

The music is terrific. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. If you are a fan of Sacha’s, do go see it. If you  spend time in Spain, as I do, you will recognise that no Middle Eastern country would allow this to be filmed there, but Spain welcomed it. Gee, I love Spain and Italy, because of that wonderful “live and let live” philosophy. Those scenes are filmed in Seville and Fuerteventura, if you were wondering.

I cannot imagine that anyone else would have had the guts to make this satire and produce that very silly beard. Bravo, Sacha.



  1. Nice review, I will have to see this.

    • Thanks Robby! Much appreciated

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