This is an almost brilliant film, close in greatness to Brazil but misses the makr because of its ham handed idiotic references to current 'terrorist' lingo, which makes it not a timely classic, so it fails becuase it will not play well in ten years, the verbage used in the film will be lost. However there is brilliance here. A mosaic of time periods and dictators, this film references many things, Franco, monks burning themselves, political prisoners, the war on terror, bin Laden, France's war in algeria, Nixon, and even a little known or recalled story of a vietnam POW who blinked morse code on TV. In addition it even references Pol Pot and Kim Jung Il.
This political satire and dark comedy is fascinating in its ability to portray dictatorship, but its use of American uniforms, those used in the war in Iraq, on soldiers shooting civilians is gratuitousa and degrading. Making fun of Pol Pot is one thing, comparing genocide to current U.S policy is sad and too easily.
Set in a fictional country it stars Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland, who deliver great performances. It sourounds a child dictator-director, his tarror card reading wife(ala Noriega) a prison guard turned collaborator with a celebrated terrorist-philosopher.
A must see film, brilliant but has some real tragic drawbacks.
Seth J. Frantzman