‘How to Become a Tyrant’ Review – Understanding The Psyche of a Dictator!


In Netflix’s Docu-Series, How To Become A Tyrant, Peter Dinklage shows us how a documentary can be uplifted to a level where the viewers are literally engaged to the point of enchantment. Voice acting can make or break a series. This fact is solidified by Dinklage’s narration which is quite wholesome. His deep and rustic voice, with a refined studio setting, puts together an exemplary performance in the genre. Documentaries tend to have empty spaces between scene-to-scene transitions. Making the engagement more deliberate rob’s the scene of emotions by inclining towards being informative with its source material.

Peter Dinklage has the audacity and capability as a narrator to fill in the spaces between transitions to the extent of having a virtual dialogue with the historians stating facts. The pacing of the audio-visual aspects is like clockwork. Everything has room to breathe and ample time and exposure to convey the various stories and anecdotes. In full disclosure, I would like to mention that I didn’t know it actually had anything to do with Tyrion Lannister, and 15mins into the first episode, I had that subtle urge to know the voice narrating the lines. It was quite a pleasant surprise.

A New Approach to Documentary Filmmaking

Such a comprehensive approach to storytelling in documentary filmmaking has been missing. The beautiful blend of creativity achieved by mincing together animation, real-life footage, and anecdotes showcases various tyrannical tryst with destinies to perfection. The series never focuses entirely on one person, as it would have turned out to be an average reenactment of historical events. How to become a tyrant goes a step further with its investigative journalism. It tries to understand the common traits of a tyrant by analyzing his psyche.

Absolute power corrupts, and we see various personality traits and patterns that emerge throughout centuries, manifesting megalomaniacal tendencies. It never sways away from the point where you might feel like having a look at your cellphone, which happens to people while watching documentaries. Ranging from acknowledging power to creating a legacy, it provides you with a blueprint for understanding the motives guiding the dictator.

Each episode has a set main character through which various segues into other characters remain smooth. Elaborating on psychology, we move further into the realm of anecdotal evidence, which fades into being mythical. But such a path is traversed carefully without misinterpretation of facts for myths and vice-versa.

After going through the lives of the most infamous tyrants, we reach a point of introspection. Pondering over it, we see various patterns and similarities amongst the oppressors. Such an analysis makes us aware of the past socio-political paradigms. By comparing it with today, we get a clearer picture of the shift it had. The series has a very educational undertone. Its graphic content makes sure the crucial facts and details are effortlessly embossed in the viewers’ minds, a must-have for a docu-series involving historical events.

Also Read: ‘How To Become A Tyrant’ All Episodes, Explained

How To Become A Tyrant is a 2021 Documentary Series narrated by Peter Dinklage. Created for Netflix, the docuseries Season 1 holds six episodes that analyze the historical dictators in each separate episode.

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Shreshtha Shukla
Shreshtha Shukla
"Thou art the suffering from which unwarranted melancholia emerges" Shreshtha Shukla is a writer, teacher, and a film enthusiast.

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