Amin – The Rise and Fall (1981)
Cast: Joseph Olita, Geoffrey Keen, Dennis Hills, Leonard Trolley
Director: Sharad Patel
Nutshell: Rip roaring piece of ace Blaxploitation based entirely on fact – Amazing!
“For voyeurs only” Maltin
“Voyeuristic” Blockbuster Video
“Well made and engrossing” Video Nasties
“Compelling” DVD Delirium
Here HE comes the great Lee-dah,
Full of wonder and full of Pow-ah,
Loved by all
and adored by all
a man of the people who governs true!
the chorus breaks out…….. DSO, CBE, (meaning Conqueror of the British Empire)!
This elusive classic gem of Blaxploitation is just about as magnificent as the genre ever gets. It ranks alongside if not higher than such massive epics like Shaft with its thunderous, rip roaring performance by Joseph Olita in the title role. The script writers have worked miracles, turning what could have ended up as a one dimensional political docu-thriller to one way beyond the hysterical realms of farce. The movie lurches along at breakneck speed beginning with a short blurb about Uganda, mostly unintelligible, followed by the joyous scenes surrounding Amin’s military takeover from Milton Obote, civilian if horribly corrupt ruler of the ravaged nation.
Amin as brilliantly played by Olita as a slavering, demented, sex maniac with the intellect of a drooling three year old. It is a truly great performance and lights up the whole film with its energy and dynamism.
Olita carries the film off on his mighty shoulders obviously relishing and “living” his role to the hilt. Perhaps most shocking of all is that the dynamics on screen are more or less strictly in line with the various biographies written on Amin and Uganda through the turbulent 70’s. Few liberties seem to have been taken by the film makers and perhaps it is just the films sensationalist manner that suggests that the material is somewhat removed from reality.
Dora Bloch and Entebbe are facts as are Amin’s expulsions of citizens of Asian origin. He likened himself to Hitler and idolized him promising a statue “in the middle of Kampala”. Amin also changed allies with every new season, courting the British and Israeli’s and then spouting some Marxist rubbish to please the Soviets. Later he takes to Islam and when he finds his circle of friends rapidly diminishing and is left with a motley bunch of eager beaver Libyans. “Allah save me” mutters Amin when an assassination attempt just misses. Earlier he charms some departing Russians at the airport with some of the worst played accordion in history!!
His pandering to the Arabs was timely as he has been granted a life of comfort in Saudi Arabia, avoiding any retribution for the atrocities he committed. This is all documented in accounts by among others, Dennis Hills, an Amin confidante for a sometime as well as a British based journalist.
Overwhelmingly though, the film works as a fabulous slice of outlandish black comedy, pardon the pun. Olita is dynamite and the film provides guffaws by the cartload, and refreshes those parts most movies can’t even hope to achieve!
If that wasn’t enough, one ends up cheering for the ogre like Amin by the movie’s conclusion, for his perseverance if nothing else, and his sexual conquests of course. What a joy it was to be able to purchase this classic gem – one that we have been after for many a year without success. We are now proud to add this epic Blaxploitation epic to our distinctly manic collection of films for all to enjoy.