#TVReview: Tyrant (2014) – The most controversial and compelling Show on TV
Actors: Adam Rayner, Jennifer Finnigan, Ashraf Barhom, Fares Fares, Moran Atias, Noah Silver, Anne Winters, Salim Dau, Mehdi Dehbi, Alice Krige, Justin Kirk, Raad Rawi, Alexander Karim, Sibylla Deen, Cameron Gharaee, Waleed Elgadi, Mor Polanuer, Amir Boutrous, Mohammad Bakri, Sammy Sheik, Tom York, Maddison Jaizani, Tom Graziani, Nasser Faris, Housini Abour, Oshrad Ingadshet
Duration: 42 min
People are scared. People are broken. If you can bring anyone of them even an inch closer to trust, that’s a win.
Long Story short:
Barry lives a peaceful life in the United States with his family. He has left his violent past of being the son of a tyrant in the middle east behind, but the thoughts of it still haunt him.
When he gets invited to his nephews wedding back home, he has to introduce his family to a world they have never even experienced, or may not understand.
“You better be careful, this isn’t America.” says daughter Emma to her brother Sammy.
And so the story of hatred and pain begins.
Before it has even started Tyrant received many bad reviews and has been criticized about its negative representation of the Middle East, giving a false perception of women in this world, and having an American actor as the lead character who is Iraqi. The harsh criticism seemed to have shown effect since in episode two they changed the whole setting into a fictional city called Aboudin. I guess this was mainly done to emphasize that even though the incidents are inspired by actual events the storyline and characters are just as fictional as the setting.
As far as the portrayal of the women goes I don’t think we are given a misperception. I think people don’t understand, that even it seems like those woman are obeying and follow the men, that they are still strong independent women. It takes a lot of strength to do and take what women in these circumstances do. And episode two already introduces a few brave characters who dare to speak up or do something about their misery.
Then we have Jamal’s wife who seems more devious and manipulative than anything else.
And let’s be honest, the situation in the Middle East is not any different than it is shown here. People are clearly suffering and that shows in Tyrant. Looking at their political system is like going back in time, but also a wake-up call that we are not as civilized as we would like to be, because we are only as strong as our weakest link. There are always rebels who try to speak up and fight for their rights, but it is hard to stand up against an army that is a thousand times bigger and stronger than the little flock you lead.
From the very beginning I was intrigued by the storyline, the characters and acting, the unexpected twists, and the connection to current political events. The dialogues are meaningful and smart, the violence shown is necessary so people understand how barbaric things still are in this world. We see how two worlds clash together, to societies, two different states of mine. We see how people can be blinded by money and status, and ignore the misery around them. And we witness the struggle of a person identifying himself with a culture that he left behind decades ago.
And while it may have given the impression that it focuses too much on the tyranny vs. people standing up against it – which again has been complained about – I see a constant progress each episode. It is important to understand what people are fighting against at first in order to relate to why they do it. It is not giving a horrible image of the Middle East, I would say it creates hope that things could change.
In short, I love this show. It is giving me everything.
One minor criticism: I wished it wasn’t entirely in English, I mean if the president holds a speech to the nation, I am sure, he would do it in everyone’s native language, right? But I guess FX is just responding to the laziness of people these days. So many great movies never make it on people’s shelves because no one wants to read subtitles…
Watch Tyrant to keep this important show on TV.
Caution: Tyrant is very realistic and has many shock moments, especially when it comes to violence. It contains also many sexual references including exploitations such as rape, but hardly shows any nudity. Be aware of that.