Last King of Scotland

June 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

Since I have a large stack of movie I bought but haven’t watched, I thought I would knock off a few of those instead of the large library of free You Tube movies for a bit.

Last King of Scotland is the story of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. As a history buff, the rise and fall of dictators is fascinating to me.  I believe this movie was accurate in terms of its portrayal of Idi Amin.  They left out the juicer, tabloid details such as the rumors of cannibalism. Idi Amin took over Uganda, promising hope and change. What happened instead was looting, murder, and corruption.

As the story goes, Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, fresh out of medical school, decides to go to Uganda instead of entering his secure family practice. He starts out as a village doctor until he has a chance meeting with the new President of Uganda, Idi Amin. Amin wants Nicholas to be his personal doctor/adviser because Amin loves Scotland, where Nicholas is from.  Nicholas seems more concerned with finding adventure and living the high life than helping out people whom need his help. The most powerful imagery used in the movie is steady deterioration of the major cities hospital.  In the beginning, its a fairly modern and operational hospital. By the end of the movie it has become a run down make shift prison/torture chamber. This movie uses visual imagery, cinematography, and camera director very well to tell the story. You will have to watch the movie for yourself to see what I mean, but trust me. This movie shows instead of telling.

Forest Whitaker’s performance as Idi Amin is one of the top acting performances I have seen ever. I do not say that lightly. He does such a good job showing how unstable Idi Amin was, it’s chilling. The movie is nearly two hours but doesn’t feel like it. This is in large part due to how compelling Forest Whitaker is in the role of the Ugandan dictator. His performance is every bit as complex as Idi Amin. One minute he is funny and gregarious, the next he is threatening and terrifying.   It was such an interesting performance, it really must be sense to be believed.

My concern about the movie is the character of Nicholas. He is suppose to be the character whom’s eyes we see this world through. His sole ambition seems to be to get drunk and get laid. He has certain loyalties to Idi Amin at first. I do question some of his character actions through out the movie though. Without spoiling things, he does some things that are just not wise to do when your in the service of a third world dictator. At moments he seems to be idealistic and believes in Idi Amin. Other times, he acts in very selfish ways, counter to someone who is idealistic. I don’t know if we can really relate to him. I’m also uncertain if he learned anything from his experience.

Last King of Scotland gets my highest recommendation. In all aspects, it really is one of the best movies I have seen in a while. The acting, the writing, the camera work, the editing, it was all excellent. I would say this is very worthy of your time and attention. I don’t think you will find too many movies this well done.


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Big Fan The Last Airbender.

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