Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Writers: Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock, Giles Foden

Composer: Alex Heffes

Starring: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney, David Oyelowo, Stephen Rwangyezi, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Adam Kotz, Sam Okelo, Sarah Nagayi, Chris Wilson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Charming. Magnetic. Murderous.

Plot: In the early 1970s, Nicholas Garrigan, a young semi-idealistic Scottish doctor, comes to Uganda to assist in a rural hospital. Once there, he soon meets up with the new President, Idi Amin, who promises a golden age for the African nation. Garrigan hits it off immediately with the rabid Scotland fan, who soon offers him a senior position in the national health department and becomes one of Amin's closest advisers. However as the years pass, Garrigan cannot help but notice Amin's increasingly erratic behavior that grows beyond a legitimate fear of assassination into a murderous insanity that is driving Uganda into bloody ruin. Realizing his dire situation with the lunatic leader unwilling to let him go home, Garrigan must make some crucial decisions that could mean his death if the despot finds out.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.


Man, Forest Whitaker is great in this picture!  He's got the charm and charisma to convince you of just about anything and then he busts out the fury once you're sucked in and it's too late.  Hell, it's a well-performed film all around and it's definitely worth watching.  For the most part I liked Nicholas (McAvoy).  His actions and reactions seemed genuine and believable.  It made sense that someone like him (and us) could get wrapped up in what was going on and, once he discovers how deep that shit hole he stepped in is, how devastating and difficult it must be to try and get out of it. My big issue is why the fuck would he sleep with Amin's wife which leads to her pregnancy?  He already knew what the guy was capable of based simply on hearsay yet he continued to nail her.  If they'd shown he was a total horndog, incapable of controlling himself, I could perhaps more easily understand his need but for crying out loud.  We can play the 'should've' game all day long but just going to Amin and saying, "Look, Idi baby, I need some grade A, prime pussy or my gumdrops are going to explode.  Can you hook me up?" and then, BAM!  He's nailin' world-class broads.

The other thing that bothered me was the ending. I'm OK with Nicholas getting out of there on the plane but it's what led up to it that gets me.  It was too Hollywood-y with the editing and the ominous music as he makes his way onto the plane.  I would have liked the scene to be played out with more finesse and with a defter touch.  That's all.  Outside of that, I dug the picture and it was great that they were able to film it in Uganda.  That goes a long way in selling it to an audience.  The DVD has a good deal of extras to include a commentary with director Kevin Macdonald, 8 deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary by the director, a 29-minute featurette called Capturing Idi Amin, a 6-minute fluff piece called Forest Whitaker "Idi Amin", another fluff piece (8.5 minutes) called Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session: The Last King of Scotland, and the theatrical trailer.

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