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How to seize power and hold on to it for a quarter of a century
This four-part mini-series grips you from the outset. Yigal Naor's portrayal of the young Saddam is brilliant, seizing power brutally but always with a purpose behind his brutality. This contrasts with the mindless, purposeless brutality of his elder son Uday (Philip Arditti), which comes through in the 2nd and 3rd episodes.
The mini-series' structure, taking four key years in Saddam's life over 24 years, is managed extremely effectively, although one consequence is that some of the best-known incidents of his reign of terror have to be omitted.
The character of each family member develops across the episodes and the overall sense of an all-pervading reign of terror comes over very powerfully.
My main criticism is of the final episode, almost elegiac with a mellow Saddam on the run with a consequent loss of tension and momentum. Although I suppose that, as we all know what happened to him right from the start, this is probably inevitable. But well worth watching and superbly acted by everyone.
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