Picks and Pans Review: Amin: the Rise and Fall

updated 04/26/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/26/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

During Idi Amin's eight-year reign of terror in Uganda, an estimated 300,000 people lost their lives out of a population of about 12 million. The events surrounding Amin's rule could make for a fascinating, if grisly, political epic. Unfortunately, Indian producer-director Sharad Patel, whose uncle and family were thrown out of Uganda during Amin's rule, has made a film more stylistically akin to Roger (Masque of the Red Death) Corman than Costa-Gavras. In the opening scene someone bursts into a hospital operating room announcing, "Amin has taken over." A couple of diplomats then discuss how harmless Amin is. So much for introduction. There follows an exploitive hour of murder, mutilation, rape and torture. During the last 15 minutes Tanzanian troops invade and Amin flies away. In his acting debut, Joseph Alito bears an uncanny resemblance to the former dictator. But that's hardly reason to spend $5.5 million, as Patel reportedly did, to make this film, which was shot in Kenya. (R.)

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