The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator ★★★★½

There are some films that age, and others whose age is a factor in their greatness. Chaplin transitioned from being the biggest star of the silent era into his first talkie with a film that satirizes Nazi Germany before america even got involved in the war. Unlike Chaplin's earlier works this is far from a romanticization, but that does not mean that his idealized view of what the world could be is not ever-present. By playing both the Dictator and a simple Jewish barber (both incredibly convincingly in his first ever speaking role) he makes a powerful suggestion that there is much of the Tramp in the Dictator, and much of the Dictator in the Tramp. His anti-fascist sentiments abundantly clear throughout, the satire manages to be hilarious and ultimately deeply, deeply affecting. I can hardly fathom the power of such a final message being so loudly and clearly presented during such a dangerously turbulent time of rampant hate and warfare.

Film is power.

Siegel liked these reviews