The Dictator-A Film Review by Gilad Atzmon
On the face of it, Baron Cohen’s The Dictator is a horrid film. It is vulgar, it isn’t funny and if it has five good jokes in it, they appear in the two minute official trailer. In short, save your time and money – unless of course, you are interested in Jewish identity politics and neurosis.
Similar to Cohen’s previous work, The Dictator is, once again, a glimpse into Cohen’s own tribal morbidity. After all, the person and the spirit behind this embarrassing comedy is a proud self-loving character who never misses an opportunity to express his intimate affinity to his people, their unique comic talent and their beloved Jewish state. But let’s face it, Cohen isn’t alone, after all, he has created The Dictator together with a Hollywood studio. So, it’s reasonable to say that what we see here is just one more Hollywood-orchestrated effort to vilify the Arab, the Muslim and the Orient.
I guess that Arab rulers, regimes and politics are an ideal subject for a satirical take, still, one may wonder what exactly does Sacha Baron Cohen know about the Arab World? As far as the film can tell, not much. Instead, Cohen projects his own Zionist and tribal symptoms onto the people of Arabia and their leaders.
In the film, Cohen plays General Hafez Aladeen, the Arab ruler of the oil-rich North African rogue state Wadiya. On the face of it, he is the satirical version of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, but in reality, Aladeen’s actions are no less than a vast amplification of the crimes committed by Israel and its war criminals such as Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni.