Amin: The Rise and Fall

Year: 1981
Production Co: Film Corporation of Kenya
Director: Sharad Patel
Writer: Wade Huie
Cast: Joseph Olita, Geoffrey Keen

A serious film that got caught up with a grindhouse aesthetic thanks to a low budget and shoddy filmmaking. Today it's likely to be a gleefully bad treasure to be enjoyed at midnight screenings by hardcore video nasty aficionados.

It's the story of – as the title suggests – the ascent to power of the military madman Amin (Olita), who plundered Uganda after he deposed the president and is estimated to have killed half a million people during his reign.

It's actually quite educational about Amin's stupidity and legacy, and as Uganda burns around him he falls victim to increasingly erratic and destructive flights of fancy. In one scene he summarily fires the governor, appointing some young bank clerk standing nearby to just print more money as the currency is devalued dangerously close to worthless.

As history shows, he deported all Asians after God told him to in a dream, befriended the Arabs after his other allies abandoned him one after the other (playing the accordion for Russian ambassadors at the airport to charm them into staying), and the film depicts myriad other personal and political insanities including eating the flesh of his enemies after he's killed them and taking any woman he fancies.

The docudrama has ideas way above its pay grade and even though Olita gives the role his all he isn't quite good enough an actor to be any more than caricature, and the grimy stock and dodgy editing do the rest. The Wikipedia page might be more accurate but this film is no less fun, albeit unintentionally.

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