Cinema Review: Dear Dictator | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dear Dictator

Studio: Cinedigm
Directed by Lisa Addario and Joe Syracuse

Mar 14, 2018 Web Exclusive
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Tatiana (Odeya Rush) seems like your average teen living in suburban Georgia; her platform boots, tasteful nose piercing, and name-dropping of the Circle Jerks would lead you to believe that she’s perhaps mildly rebellious. She gets along well enough with her single mother (Katie Holmes) and has a crush on a devout evangelical classmate. The weirdest thing about her is that she’s pen pals with General Anton Vincent (Michael Caine), the ruthless dictator of a small banana republic.

On Anton’s island somewhere in the Caribbean, the U.S. is backing an armed rebellion against Dear Leader. When rebels overrun the capitol, Anton has nowhere to run except to his teenage pen pal’s house. While he hides out in her garage and waits for his supporters to re-take the island, he becomes something of a sage, surrogate grandpa to Tatiana, giving her advice as how to be a real rebel, and how to overthrow a group of bullies at her high school.

Dear Dictator sounds crazy, but the thing is, its premise is so insane that it just might work. This could be Mean Girls meets Three Days of the Condor: two movies no one would ever think to mash together, but why not? But with as much time as Dear Dictator spends tiptoeing around the film’s main hook, it can almost feel as if the movie’s embarrassed of its pitch. When there’s a globally-despised dictator hiding out in a teen girl’s garage, why is there so much screen time dedicated to her mom’s affair with her nerdy boss (Seth Green)? And aside from some admittedly great throwaway gags in the film’s opening scenes, Anton’s background as a mass murderous despot is largely avoided. It’s kinda awkward to try to set him up anew as Tatiana’s gentle, geriatric role model when there were jokes about him executing innocent subjects at the beginning of the film.

Unfortunately, Dear Dictator has a bad habit of taking this nutty idea and approaching it in the least interesting ways possible. Instead of exploring the dangers that might go along with harboring the target of an international manhunt, we get a scene where Tatiana takes Anton to the mall for a makeover montage. Rather than help her mount any sort of political coup to overthrow the prissy clique at her school, Anton’s advice leads Tatiana to pull dumb pranks and throw a used tampon in a bully’s face. (Yeah.) Dear Dictator makes you hope for something subversive, and there occasional flashes of potential, but then it always falls back into the easiest, most obvious route. For a movie with a vintage punk soundtrack, at times it’s hard to imagine it being any less punk rock.

Author rating: 3/10

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March 20th 2018

i think i really like the movie. it seems perfect for me after i get done with my essay writing service. the review makes it easier to decide wether you like it or not. it is so well written and easy to understand

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April 17th 2018

Great Article. Good indepth review of the movie. Will watch soon

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May 5th 2018

This is a family film, that Mom and Dad could enjoy with their children and not worry about obscene language and gratuitous sex scenes flooding the airwaves.

May 6th 2018

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Simultaneously preposterous and dull, Dear Dictator is the kind of movie where music and wardrobe choices substitute for character.

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July 30th 2018

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September 6th 2019

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