Monday, April 30, 2007

Review: THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

This weekend I saw director Kevin MacDonald’s brilliant and painful story of a Scottish physician’s interlude with Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, The Last King of Scotland. I highly recommend this movie, which, along with, say, Schindler’s List, is one of those I’m glad I watched but don’t ever want to see again.

James McAvoy plays newly-minted Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, the idealistic, criminally naïve, self-destructive, yet oddly endearing Scot who spins a globe, sticks his finger on a spot, and finds himself in Uganda immediately after Amin’s coup. A chance meeting with the charismatic and childlike Amin leads to a job offer—personal physician to the paranoid dictator—that the good doctor can’t refuse. Garrigan enjoys the power, influence, and high-living a little too much, until he slowly begins to realize that Amin is brutal and unbalanced. As if his situation isn’t precarious enough, Garrigan’s own foolishness sends him careening from the frying pan into the fire.

This harrowing story has memorable characters and painful choices, not to mention the hauntingly beautiful backdrop of Uganda, a country I knew almost nothing about.

I didn’t dare blink while watching this movie, for fear I’d miss something, and two days later I’m still thinking about it. Don’t miss these incredible performances, including Forest Whitaker’s Oscar-winning turn as Amin.

Anyone else enjoy this movie? Anyone else have a recommendation to make? Anyone else looking forward to this week’s release of Spidey-3?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi - I saw it. It was impressive but I think they focused too much on Amin's buffoonery - the part with him having gas problems comes to mind. It was only in reading a review afterwards that I realized he was a Muslim who had close relations with his Arab brothers which is why he allowed the Palestinians to land at Entebbe and why the Saudis offered him refuge. (I'd just thought he had three wives because it was an African thing.)

It would have been good if that had been brought out in the movie.

Kristina Cook said...

Haven't seen it yet, but I'm dying to. It looks fabulous--albeit difficult.

I think I'm signed up for an advance screening of Spidey 3! Now if I could just find a babysitter....