The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition)
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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
- 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
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Top Customer Reviews
Idi Amin starts off not just as a character you like but one that you love. If you aren't familiar with the history of Uganda, the movie is even better. You see exactly how power can corrupt and by the end of the movie you see him turn into a character you hate.
The movie admittently is not a true story. It is the rise and fall of Idi Amin as told by a fictional doctor that never existed: that being said, much of the story is true even down to Amin believing he knew exactly how he would die as it was shown to him in a vision.
James McAvoy is the young doctor in the movie. And as he has proven time and again, he is a strong actor. Forest Whitaker is every bit Idi Amin, gaining weight and perfecting an African accent for the part. He studied Amin to even capture manurisms. He did his homework on top of being a great actor. It is impressive to day the very least. It is so well acted that you will forget it is an actor.
Some movies you watch, are entertained, and forget about 75% within three days. This isn't that movie. This movie you remember for a lifetime and makes you want to know more about what really happened.
Another fantastic aspect of the movie was the choice to film this movie on location in Uganda. While I can't say that I would have noticed if the film was shot in another African country, but I can say the local casting and scenery were superb.
While I thought James McAvoy delivered a strong performance as Garrigan, my biggest critique of the movie was ths screenplay. I thought certain parts of the screenplay and various aspects of McAvoy's character were poorly written. For instance, at the outset of the movie, McAvoy comes across as incredibly naive and ill-informed about the turmoil taking place in Uganda, or for that part most of post-colonial Africa at that time. Additionally, some of the elements of the plot were a bit trite and predictable. While clearly done for dramatic purposes, they were a little too expected, especially the final 15 minutes.
In spite of my few criticisms, this is an incredibly solid movie and contains one of the best performances in recent memory. It is well worth seeing and enjoying.
Until I saw THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND. When I saw Forest Whitaker, the way he carried himself, the way he spoke, the way he could be so calmly maniacal. . .the hairs stood up on my neck. Before my very eyes, Whitaker became Idi Amin, which is why this film is so believable--even though it's a fictional account of his regime.
It's an account about Amin and the relationship he has with his personal physician, Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy). Nicholas wins instant points with "President" Amin because the young doctor is Scottish--and the Ugandan leader is an enthusiastic fan of Scotland and its culture. In the beginning, all is well and good; Nicholas becomes intoxicated with his newfound wealth and power--with his ever-increasing influence with Amin. But everything is an illusion; Uganda is unstable, Amin has many enemies, and when the enemies rebel, the dictator responds with an iron fist. And the relationship with his physician becomes strained; Nicholas's naivete suddenly yields to remorse, to fear, to helplessness. This thriller ends at Entebbe Airport, in one of the most brutal and disturbing cinematic scenes I've ever seen.
Whitaker, McAvoy, and the rest of the cast furnish unforgettable roles--especially Whitaker, who won an Oscar. Kudos to director Kevin MacDonald for making a film that is beautiful yet brutal, a film that has heart-pounding suspense. THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND sends one chill after another down the spine, and brings Idi Amin back to vivid life.
--D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning