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The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition)

4.3 out of 5 stars 382 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A Scottish doctor on a Ugandan medical mission becomes irreversibly entangled with one of the world


As the evil Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Forest Whitaker gives an unforgettable performance in The Last King of Scotland. Powerfully illustrating the terrible truth that absolute power corrupts absolutely, this fictionalized chronicle of Amin's rise and fall is based on the acclaimed novel by Giles Foden, in which Amin's despotic reign of terror is viewed through the eyes of Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a Scottish doctor who arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to serve as Amin's personal physician. His outsider's perspective causes him to be initially impressed by Amin's calculated rise to power, but as the story progresses--and as Whitaker's award-worthy performance grows increasingly monstrous--The Last King of Scotland turns into a pointed examination of how independent Uganda (a British colony until 1962) became a breeding ground for Amin's genocidal tyranny. As Whitaker plays him, Amin is both seductive and horribly destructive--sometimes in the same breath--and McAvoy effectively conveys the tragic cost of his character's naiveté, which grows increasingly prone to exploitation. As directed by Kevin Macdonald (who made the riveting semi-documentary Into the Void), this potent cautionary tale my prompt some viewers to check out Barbet Schroeder's equally revealing documentary General Idi Amin Dada, an essential source for much of this film's authentic detail. --Jeff Shannon

Beyond The Last King of Scotland

More from Forest Whitaker

General Idi Amin Dada

The Last King of Scotland (Paperback)

Stills from The Last King of Scotland

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Kevin Macdonald
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Kevin Macdonald
  • Documentary: Capturing Idi Amin
  • Forest Whitaker Featurette
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session- The Last King of Scotland
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • International Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney
  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Writers: Giles Foden, Jeremy Brock, Peter Morgan
  • Producers: Allon Reich, Andrea Calderwood, Andrew Macdonald, Andrew Wood
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2007
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NIVJF4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,234 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 26, 2007
Format: DVD
Before going any further, let's be upfront about what "The Last King of Scotland" is. It is essentially a fictional thriller, with a political/historical backdrop. With Forest Whitaker's highly touted performance as real-life Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, it may be natural to assume that the film is biographical in nature, but it is not. While many of the events portrayed within the film are based on actual incidents, the primary story involving Amin's white Scottish doctor (James McAvoy who is the actual lead performance) is a complete work of fiction by "Scotland" novelist Giles Foden. Interestingly enough, the original conception for this character was loosely based on the valet from Moliere's "Don Juan"--but he was promoted to a doctor, in this story, to generate more compelling ethical questions. With that clarification in place, "The Last King of Scotland" is one heck of a ride--it is a riveting thriller that also manages to provide relevant insight into the complexity of Amin's private and public personas.

The story framework and basic setup is not unfamiliar, we've seen it in many other genres--from political films, financial thrillers, corrupt cop stories, mob portraits, and even in supernatural hokum. Basically, an ambitious young man is seduced by wealth and power. Falling under the spell of an engaging mentor, he buys into the glorious lifestyle that he has always dreamed of--sacrificing a bit of himself, and making some moral compromises, in the process. Ultimately, though, the situation gets out of hand, but it may be too late. He is now complicit in the same crimes he wishes to extricate himself from. In this case, McAvoy plays a Scottish medic who arrives in Uganda, on impulse, to "make a difference.
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Format: DVD
Jeremy Brock, who is a television writer, wrote a fine script a few years ago for the film "Mrs. Brown", a tale of Queen Victoria, starring Dame Judi Dench. Brock gets another chance to deliver in his work with "The Last King of Scotland". This time his director is Kevin MacDonald. MacDonald has not yet found fame, but his 1999 documentary, "One Day in September", about the killings at the 1972 Munich Olympics put Spielberg's "Munich" to shame. MacDonald uses a semi-documentary style in creating the arresting film that is "The Last King of Scotland". So, too, like "Mrs. Brown", is the film made memorable by a performance so compelling it will be the stuff of legends, and an arresting supporting performance. "The Last King", which saw limited release, came back to many American theaters in the past month as a tribute to the Golden Globe and the newly won Oscar by Forest Whitaker for his role as Amin. In his shadow is a fine performance from James McAvoy as the FICTIONAL, callow Dr. Garrigan, the personal doctor to Amin.

Dr. Garrigan meets Amin just as he comes into power, and quite by accident, is connected to the arresting Amin who loves all things Scottish. In 1971, at the time the movie begins, Amin overthrew then dictator Obote in a coup that was lauded both in Uganda and abroad. Obote supporters persisted in Uganda and Tanzania, attempting to assassinate Amin more than once. Amin quickly morphed from a benevolent commander of what he envisioned as a democratic, western-type rule, to a treacherous paranoid. Ethnic violence resulted in a wave of tortures and assassinations throughout the country. Amin turned on the country's Asian (mainly Indian) population and cast out Hindus, Muslims and Jews. He looted their businesses.
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MOVIE: Nicholas Garrigan is a free spirit young man who has just finished med school and is aching to get away from his parents. He spins the plastic globe in his room and lands his finger on Uganda. The movie jumps right there as he travels to a missionary to be a volunteer doctor. From the opening credits and his actions with Sarah Merrit (Gillian Anderson) at the missionary we can see that this character is immature and just looking for a fun way to live.

One day he is stopped by the President's army because apparently the President is in need of a doctor. He drives up to find the President standing next to his car in the ditch and a dying longhorn bull laying on the side of the road. A giant deal is made over a simply bruised hand and during the chaos Nicholas takes the President's gun and puts the screaming animal out of its misery. I suppose it was the strength that Nicholas demonstrated then and there that appealed to Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). From that point on a new friendship is made as Amin takes Nicholas under his wing to be his personal physician. Nicholas is reluctant at first to accept the offer because he knows that the missionary is in need of his help much more than the charming dictator. Of course we can't forget that Nicholas wants to live the good life, and he cannot resist all that Amin offers him. He cannot resist temptation and gives in, practically selling his soul to the devil if you will. From that point things begin to escalate and Nicholas sees what Amin truly is, and that is a power hungry murderer.

The story itself is an easy one to follow, and we immediately connect and relate to the main characters. Director Kevin Macdonald gets us acquainted with Nicholas and Amin, so we sort of open up as an audience to them.
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