By Geselle Martinez |Staff Writer|
Sacha Baron Cohen is back with his unique brand of satire in his new film “The Dictator.”
The film was hilarious from beginning to end with the typical stereotyped jokes about different races. The movie focused on satirizing political views, rather than religious views.
Admiral General Aladeen (Baron Cohen) is an oppressive dictator that is the ruler of an oil-rich North African nation, the fictional “Wadiya,” who is secretly trying to militarize under the United Nations’ nose. After the UN becomes suspicious, he is then in need of a visit to New York to make a speech to UN.
After Aladeen’s uncle (Sir Ben Kingsley) kidnaps and replaces him with an impostor, Aladeen is left wandering in the streets of New York, trying to find some way to reclaim his place before his beloved Wadiya becomes a democracy.
Aladeen then ends up finding himself working at a vegan feminist store ran by Zoey (Anna Faris) who is pro-democracy. Although the two are completely opposite and have different beliefs, they somehow end up bonding.
The soundtrack of the movie was funny, good and interestingly put together. They used some of today’s well-known hip-hop music and replaced the original rappers with Arabic imposters. The music definitely added flavor to the movie.
The soundtrack features two tracks from the original scoreby Erran Baron Cohen (Cohen’s brother) and songs by artists including Jalal Hamdaou and Driver, Michelle J. Nasser, Khaled, Jalal Hamdaoui, Cheb Raya and MC Ral’s cover of “Everybody Hurts.”
Although “The Dictator” was successful at the box office, it did stir up controversy. The middle eastern country Tajikistan has banned “The Dictator,” after authorities ruled that the movie was incompatible with the nation’s mentality, according to The Daily Mail.
“It’s wrong to compare us with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and with other countries,” said Daler Davlatov of the Tatan distribution company in Tajikistan in an interview with The Daily Mail.
Baron Cohen denied the role was an attack on Arabs and said only people who would be offended by it would be dictators and fans of dictatorship.
Stephen El-Khatib from Muslim Student Association (MSA) here at CSUSB thought the film was funny and said he did not find it offensive at all. “It’s clear that it’s not about Muslims. Its more of a bash against presidents [and] leaders,” he said.
Mahbuba Hammad from MSA said that she was not offended but was upset about the fact that the movie brought up old stereotypes.
Hammad said she has worked towards trying to get rid of the stereotypes but people keep bringing them back. She said she would watch the movie because it looks funny and it doesn’t target her religion.
In fact, the ignorant beliefs of many American citizens, as well as their quickness to judge someone who is different, are some of the primary targets of the film’s jokes.
In the end of the movie, Aladeen makes a speech where he outlines the differences between dictatorships and democracy, which was clearly the thesis of the movie. The speech was funny and had some true meaning to it that is eye-opening.
The trailer may seem like “The Dictator” is offensive, but looks can be deceiving.