Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, Idi Amin and… Admiral General Aladeen? Whereas the aforementioned all oppressed their nations with an iron fist for many years, Aladeen lovingly oppresses his Republic of Wadiya.
Yes, the very Aladeen who spilled Kim Jong Il’s “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest at the 84th Academy Awards red carpet.
Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is “The Dictator” of the fictional Wadiya, a nation where his people loves to be oppressed and despises democracy. Or so he thinks. When Aladeen travels to New York to address the United Nations Security Council, his premier, Tahir (Ben Kingsley), the rightful heir to the throne, organizes a security man (John C. Reilly) to kidnap the Admiral General, shave off his beard and kill him.
This is when the crude, hilarious adventure of Aladeen begins in typical Cohen style. The poor fool quickly finds out that the Americans want him overthrown and that he means nothing without his long beard.
All lost in the Big Apple, Aladeen meets Zoey (Anna Faris), a boyish Hobbit looking girl with hairy armpits, who runs a left-wing health food store. Unaware of his real identity, she offers him a job at her store and he accepts, of course with a mean scheme in mind.
However, Aladeen slowly starts falling for Zoey, which could have a monumental impact on his public image as a much hated dictator…
“The Dictator” is a sharp, clever and refreshing story about political satires and racial stereotypes. Cohen produced a film that shamelessly mocks the ridiculous concept of dictatorship with real humour, but he also portrayed how bizarre people react based on skin colour and culture alone.
Needless to say, this film reminds one of Cohen’s highly successful “Borat”, which famously earned him a best actor Golden Globe. There are plenty of shocking, obscene and offensive moments in “The Dictator”, which might be considered too distasteful for some.
But, having seen Cohen heavily promoting this movie and appearing in character at various events, it was obvious from the beginning that this was not going to be just another raunchy comedy trying to be bigger than what it actually is. “The Dictator” touches on subjects with a sense of rationality. As clueless as he seems, one quickly realises that Aladeen speaks sense when it comes to politics. While watching this dictator commenting on Western ideologies, democracy and the role of the woman in society, it opens our eyes to the absurdness of oppression and how valuable freedom truly is.
This movie boldly showcases how corrupt dictators and political leaders can be, abusing their power. Filled with racial and gender offensive comments, explicit scenes, hilariously funny moments and even a sweet, touching romance, Cohen hit the nail on the head with “The Dictator”.