With all the turmoil in the Middle East right now, Sacha Baron Cohen picked a good time to play Admiral General Aladeen, an oppressive leader in The Dictator. As with other Cohen-related projects (Borat & Bruno) crude humor is delivered with no apology. It should be noted that this film is dedicated to Kim Jong-Il, the former Great Leader of North Korea.
The Dictator stepped away from the documentary feel that both Borat & Bruno had. The story follows Admiral General Aladeen developing his nuclear program, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for him to step down from power, and his trip to New York City to address the UN.
No one is safe in this movie. Almost every ethnic group is made fun of in some way. Women are not home-free from onslaught by the Admiral General either. This movie works because of the world we live in now. Filmmakers have not gone on the other side of the table and explored what Hussein, Mubareck and Gaddafi felt (or did feel since two-thirds of dictators listed are now deceased). If you take The Dictator too seriously, you won’t enjoy it. This is just a cut-and-dry shock film wanting you to laugh at the geo-political mess that Western society has dealing with rogue oil-rich countries. The Dictator goes a little deep and shows the hysteria that Americans feel whenever they are around anyone that could be a terrorist who says anything about 911…even if 911 is talking about the Porsche model of car. The truly remarkable thing about The Dictator is that Ben Kingsley is in it. The same guy who won an Oscar portraying Gandhi is the 2nd in command for the country of Wadiya. Anna Faris was so-so as the gluten free shopkeeper who takes Admiral General Aladeen in after his beard is removed by John C. Reilly. In the end the lines between democracy and despotic governments becomes blurred. Pay close attention to the songs played in The Dictator; they have a special Wadiyan flare to them.
The comedic range that Cohen has is impressive. Yes he has done immature comedies like Bruno & Borat, but he has a more intelligent comedic side as seen in Hugo. His dedication to each character goes on far past just the production of the film. Cohen invaded the 84th Academy Awards with an urn containing Kim Jong-Il’s ashes-and dumped them on Ryan Seacrest. Also in the Admiral General Aladeen character, Cohen went on Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show.