on November 30, 2012
First of all, I dont see why so many people have given this a bad review... You must know what you are getting into before you watch it. Obviously there will be racy situations, poor judgement, awkward moments, and be offensive. This movie is hilarious (to me) All you people who got offended watching to movie why didn't you just turn it off? Every time I go to the theater to watch one of his movies people always are walking out... I ask myself, why the heck did you come in the first place? Seriously, this movie is not for the easily offended.
Sacha Baron Cohen does a great acting job in his latest film, "The Dictator." The gags are mostly good and although some are tacky and racist (with a few being crude) it still held my attention on a very rough day for me because it works as a parody of dictatorships. There is little about the plot and the film that I can add to the reviews already posted here; but I can certainly vouch for other reviewers who write that the film is actually pretty good entertainment, a parody and nothing truly offensive even if Sacha Baron Cohen is very daring when it comes to topics for jokes and gags.
The plot is not terribly deep; but it moves along well and you shouldn't get bored. Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays the brutal dictator of the fictional, northern African country named Wadiya) surrounds himself with excellent actors all turning in convincing performances that make the film even funnier. Sir Ben Kingsley plays Tamir, the rightful heir to the dictatorship occupied by his apparently younger brother General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen). Anna Faris is brilliant as Zoey, a Brooklyn, New York vegan small business food store owner who's liberal activism clashes sharply with Aladeen's "take no prisoners" and kill-`em-all policy whenever anyone disagrees with him. Nadal, a scientist ordered to create nuclear weapons for Wadiya, is well played by Jason Mantzoukas; his timing is just right and he supports Baron Cohen really well.
Soon after the film starts with some gags and basic introductions, General Aladeen is practically summoned to the United Nations. They want his assurance that he isn't developing nuclear weapons--otherwise they may use military force against Wadiya. Aladeen travels to New York with Tamir and an extensive entourage--but soon after that he is kidnapped and nearly killed in a very funny scene with one of my favorite actors, John C. Reilly, playing the would-be murderer. Tamir hopes that with the real Aladeen out of the way he can use a phony "double" for Aladeen and use the double to make Wadiya a democracy so Tamir can sell its oil to countries around the world, most notably America and China.
But what Tamir doesn't know is that Aladeen escaped being killed and wants nothing more than to gain back total control of Wadiya. Just how Aladeen and Zoey get to know each other and how Aladeen tries to win back control of his country is how the rest of the film plays out, complete with gags and jokes about anything Baron Cohen wants to tackle, including 9/11, blacks, Jews, Asians and just about anything else you can imagine.
All in all, if you liked Sacha Baron Cohen's other films, I think you will like this one. It is better than "Bruno" and while it isn't quite as good as "Borat" it's definitely funny. It managed to divert my attention on a rather stressful day and that's actually saying a lot. In addition, if you're new to Sacha Baron Cohen's sense of humor and you're not that easily offended, you should enjoy this film.
on June 3, 2013
For what it was, it was hilarious! A complete satire on terrorism and dictatorships. I feel this is a very underated movie and Sacha Baron Cohen has once again proved his comedic genius. This is one for the ages and will go down in history, like Dr. Strangelove. As for all the bad ratings, what can you say, true greatness is often misunderstood by the masses. Artistic Genius!
I'm going to start off this review by just being honest: I loved this movie. I laughed my entire way through it. It's offensive. It's absurd. It's hysterical. It's definitely not for everyone, but I appreciate all of Sacha Cohen's work. If you're not familiar with what he does, then perhaps this movie isn't for you. But if you can appreciate an off-beat, politically inspired, offensively hilarious film- then this is the right choice.
The Dictator takes you on the journey of a dictator of a northern African nation called Wadiya, who after years of surpressing his people and bragging of uranium rich weapons- is challenged by the United Nations to attend a sanction in New York City and announce his approval of democracy rather than dictatorship. Once in America his chief advisor, greedy for Wadiya's oil wealth, has the dictator "Aladeen" killed. Alas, Aladeen is not killed, but has had his beard shaved- which causes him to be unrecognizable. His chief advisor replaces him with a stunt double Aladeen, who is to make Wadiya a democracy and allow free oil trade in the country. But, the real dictator does not want his country to become a democracy and hitches a plan to show everyone his true identity, and prevent Wadiya from becoming anything but a dictatorship.
Along the way Aladeen meets Anna Ferris's character- a feminist, non-racist, non-prejudice, fem lit major who runs an organic, anti-sexist, anti-big business, fair trade grocery store. Did you get all that? Me neither. She's the epitome of the modern day 20-something democratic extremist. She's all about equality. And ya gotta love her for that. Of course, Aladeen cannot even begin to comprehend all of this equality nonsense. Which makes their relationship hilariously entertaining to watch develop.
The film is quite offensive at times. It openly discusses topics such as abortion, sexism, female oppression, oil wealth and the greed associated with it, and of course dictatorship- with a few references to Islamic politics. What I find really hysterical is the fact that although the dictator is an absolute terrible person, he is- in many ways, comparable to the horrible people all over the world. There's one scene I especially love that pokes fun at the racial stereotypes developed by 9/11. Aladeen and his assistant are in a helicopter tour, talking about a subject in their native tongue. But the only words the white tourists can understand are '9/11, 2012, Empire State Building, Boom boom boom, and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." All of these words are skewed against an entirely innocent conversation- but of course, the white Americans are utterly paranoid of the non-English speaking northern African tourists that they absolutely freak out about this discussion. This, I thought was brilliant- as it so hysterically portrays the typical racist mindset of so many Americans after 9/11. It's sad, but true. And I found it hilarious. This is just one of the many examples of Sacha Cohen's brilliantly subtle ploys at picking fun at modern American faults.
All in all I thought the movie was ridiculously well done. It was hilarious, with just the most PERFECT ending. Spoiler Alert: In the end Aladeen very cleverly (and not purposely) describes Dictatorship in a way that so closely compares to our modern democracy. It truly leaves you thinking "How different are we from other suppressed nations (most commonly found in the middle east)?" Just ridiculously brilliant. Ah! I love Sacha Baron Cohen. Just another of his brilliant works. I'm such a fan! Definitely recommend for people interested in a politically-driven film that is played out in an absolutely gut-wrenchingly funny way.
on May 31, 2013
It's easy to misunderstand satire when its wrapped up in vulgar comedic form. And those who didn't watch it to the end and said its bad? Well you guys missed out on the important key message when Aladeen addresses the U.N. about the perks of a dictatorship. If nothing else, watch that scene. The dictator isn't really about an evil dictator, it's actually an ironic statement about the state of America: of corruption, corporatism, and greed. But its guised as trash and it is trash, but as the final scene would suggest, the nasty things happening behind closed doors in the U.S. is even below this trash. A darker understanding the director aimed to produce is that while our dictator in the story is a joke and a spoiled imbecile, real problems in this country aren't laughing matter. And when an "awful dictator" is depicted as the last hope of a "real" democracy (*there's a funny plot twist spoiler*), it suggests that democracy has died already and is only a facade for the greedy to mobilize people and manipulate them.
*spoiler: in the end a democracy is brought forth with open elections - a tank pushes voters towards Aladeen's booth. In reality, nothing has changed. It is still a dictatorship under the guise of a democracy. My comments: But at least here it is ridiculously obvious of how people are being manipulated... but the same cannot be said for people who are so subtly manipulated, people don't even know they're being manipulated. We let laws, such as the Patriot Act which basically lets the government detain anybody for an indefinite amount of time if suspected of terrorism, pass. It brings into mind a scene where Aladeen talks to Nadal on the bridge about civil rights in passing. (Aladeen: "civil rights? what are those Nadal?" "I'll tell you about it, it's a hilarious joke").
To be fair, as some of the 1 star votes have indicated, the vulgarity is highly inappropriate and offensive to everyone. And I mean everybody! Some people may have a problem with that but here's what you're missing - it's supposed to poke fun at everyone more or less 'equally' regardless of class, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and religion. But search deeper. Note the way how Aladeen's offensiveness remarks contrasts with those of Clayton in the beginning where he basically says "hell, if you aint from the U.S., everyone of you is an A-rab". There is no distinction or shades of grey in this symbolic "patriotic" man's mind. He does not see the differences in cultures and people and simply lumps everyone either as "one of us" or "the enemy" - a mentality borne of fear, persecution, and dehumanization. In contrast, Aladeen takes the time to insult everybody personally but he at least recognizes people according to what they identify themselves as and offends PEOPLE rather than just seeing an amorphous blob of enemies everywhere as Clayton does.
I'll leave off this long and boring commentary with this single summary of the Dictator:
"A man, even an awful dictator, can have a change of heart, but a company (even if the government suggest otherwise) is not a man."
on May 26, 2013
All I have to say about this movie is that it is an Aladeen film and it deserves a 5 star rating.
on May 17, 2014
Of the Sasha Baron Cohen movies this was my favorite! So many laugh out loud moments. It's low brow humor and don't expect any more but this one fits the bill. I am hoping Arab people take the caricature in good humor as there are more than enough hit you between the eyes at he West to keep balance. Long Live Blazing Saddles ! and The Producers !
on May 31, 2013
I love movies that aren't afraid to touch taboo areas. Life is too serious, we all need to be able to make fun of ourselves. I laughed so hard at Borat, but it was a little hard to watch the unsuspecting people in the movie.
I loved that this was all actors, and a lot of great ones at that. Definitely one to watch after the kiddos go to bed!
on February 13, 2015
Wow! People get so bent over movies involving Sacha Baron Cohen! We all know that he's Julien, the king of the Lemurs in Madagascar, right? Ooops! People are going to start hating on those movies too. Worst movie ever seen, witnessed, heard of, acknowledged!!!!! Really? What vexes me the most is when imbiciles view a movie starring an actor that is risqué, demented, brash, socially-retarded, or villainously hilarious and then get all upset because they were insulted by the subject matter. Borat rings a bell. The Dictator is not The Notebook, it's not The Wizard Of Oz, and it certainly isn't anything Hitchcockian in nature. It's a Sacha (say it with me) Baron Cohen movie about a ridiculous dictator, General Haffaz Aladeen in Wadiya (a fictional country located in the Horn of Africa) who gets deposed while visiting NYC and the United Nations. It mocks leaders like Kim Jong-Il and Un and Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin, etc... On the run from people that want him dead, Aladeen runs into Zoey (Anna Farris) a hipy-dippy feminist organic green-grocer who seems to attract refugees like a magnet. Although Aladeen had no intention of making Wadiya democratic, he convinces Zoey that is his intention, but first he must get back into the UN before it's too late. This movie is funny on so many levels. Sure it mocks tender subjects, but they need to be mocked. Hilarious. Snappy. Chockful of subject matter that will make certain people stark raving mad. Like Borat, this movie pokes fun in all directions at once. Nothing is sacred. If you can't sit back and laugh at the scary, despicable world then you are way too uptight and a nice mindless action movie might go over nice with you instead. If you wanna laugh and you don't have a stick up your booty, enjoy another mischievous Sacha Baron Cohen movie.
on June 9, 2013
Overall this was a funny film and it managed to poke fun at almost every single activist group out there, not to mention governments, businesses, etc. People who complain about this movie need to get a thicker skin. Why not poke fun at ourselves? Sacha Baron Cohen manages to highlight the ridiculousness of the world around us and draws us in to looking at things a different way. Did I like everything in the movie? No, but that didn't prevent me from watching the entire thing and laughing throughout.