Multiple Stereotypes In The Dictator Movie

1743 words - 7 pages

Movies make a huge contribution to societies, which results in caricatures or stereotypes. Needless to say, Hollywood movies nowadays exploit the ‘funniness’ of some stereotypes just to sell movies. The movie, The Dictator, released in 2012 by the American director Larry Charles, was no exception. The movie reinforces stereotypes of Middle Eastern people, presenting them as hairy, rich, terrorists, who like sex. Symbolizing Middle Eastern people in the movie is Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator of a fictitious North African country named Wadiya, a desert nation ruled by his vanity. With this movie causing a stir in today’s world where stereotypes are not supported, writers like Annie Murphy Paul, Theodore Dalrymple, and Chimamanda Adichie also discuss the role of stereotypes to categorize people and the inability to prevent them because their creation is unconscious, and thus oblivious to the narrow, negative perspective it causes. However, it is not completely true that stereotypes are unconscious and people do not want to be categorized through racism because this categorization makes everything into one single story. Each person has their own personalities and choices in life that have nothing to do with their race. People should be categorized by their choices shaped by their interest and experience, unlike the stereotypes presented through the scenes in The Dictator.
The Stereotypes begins in the very first scene with the first instance of Arabic music, which is played in the movie repeatedly, planting the idea of the Middle East in the viewer’s head and acting as a reminder throughout the movie. The story starts with the birth of Aladeen, the main character. Born to rule Wadiya, Aladeen enjoys unlimited wealth from Wadiya’s mass producing oil fields. He rules his country ruthlessly, executing anyone whom he disagrees with, changing 300 words into his last name, and staging an Olympics where he wins every gold medal. When the United Nations threatens Wadiya, he comes to New York City to address the UN Council, ridiculously still riding on a camel amongst all the cars, perpetuating Middle Eastern stereotypes. Meanwhile, Minister Tamir of Wadiya plots to oust Aladeen and make himself rich by signing multimillion dollar contracts with foreign oil companies. During the visit, Aladeen is stripped of his power and long beard by Clayton, who was hired by Tanir to kill Aladeen, but fails and Aladeen flees. Equating his power to a beard makes a joke at the expense of Middle Eastern culture. Meanwhile, he has been replaced by Efawadh, a dummy manipulated by Tamir. Along the way, Aladeen meets Zoey, who offers him a job. He also discovers that New York is full of the people he supposedly executed several years ago. One of them, Nadal, makes a pact with Aladeen to help him regain his power in exchange for his job back. Upon regaining his power, he declares his love for Zoey and vows to democratize his country. A year later, Wadiya holds its first...

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