Saddam, frustrated step-son of a sadistic peasant, was the deputy of the Iraqi president, number two in a revolutionary regime that modernized the former British-protected kingdom. When his faction ...
The rise and fall of the Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.
What a big project this must have been. Trying to distil the best bits of Saddam's twenty four years in power in to four hours and not losing those not steeped in Middle Eat politics would appear impossible to some - but my word, they have pulled it off!
Here you have it all: Power, sex, family, violence, politics, war, madness, you name it. The complete drama play box. Yet this is a personal drama that is more interested in family and politics than needless bloodshed. Not that it isn't very gory at times. This is not for children.
You also have a fantastic lead performance from Yigal Naor. Utterly mesmerising: Deluded, multi-faced, sometimes charming and yet ruling by fear. Trusting nobody - and certainly not his friends or family. Hitler meets Idi Amin in a country with rich oil fields and - therefore - "important" to the West.
Pick of the highly convincing support cast is Philip Arditti as "first son" Uday. The mad-as-a-hatter "heir". The camera lingers/glaces on him for no reason at council and cabinet meetings, sneering or (inappropriately) looking unconcerned. He even makes Saddam look straight!
Yes, it had loads of things to crib and copy from: The Sopranos and the Godfather Trilogy among them, but it is amazing how the format fits around a story that is almost entirely true. In its major facts at least.
If there is a better mini-series played on TV this year I would be very surprised. You'll want to watch it more than once - I know I did.
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