Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Title:The Last King of Scotland
Cast: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney
It is the 1970’s and young medical student Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) has just graduated as a doctor in Scotland. However, he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a local doctor, who would rather get some excitement out of life. Which is how he comes to be arriving in Uganda the day that the old president has been deposed and Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) has taken his place. Garrigan is picked up by Sarah Merrit (Gillian Anderson) who’s husband runs the medical centre where Garrigan will be working. When Amin visits the local village Garrigan persuades Merrit to go along with him and see what all the fuss is about.
And this is how a young Scottish doctor meets an African dictator. Amin is impressed by Garrigan after a chance encounter, and suggests that he should become Amin’s personal doctor. But the mouthy Scotsman soon becomes so much more to the paranoid dictator. Convinced that everyone is plotting against him, he feels that Garrigan is the only person he can trust, the only person (stupid enough?) to tell him exactly what they think.
Which is great, Garrigan finds himself leading a life of luxury and constant partying. British agents have approached Garrigan, trying to persuade him to be something of a spy for them. But they rub him up the wrong way, with their slimy insidious approach. Which is all well and good until things start to get nasty, Amin becomes increasingly unstable, and finally Garrigan realises that Uganda isn’t really a sensible place to be.
James McAvoy gives a great performance, bolshy and charismatic, he exudes a certain naïve swagger. But it is, of course, Forest Whitaker who commands the screen as Idi Amin. The way he moves, behaves, the way he looks at people, provides such a powerful performance. Between the two leads there is such a chemistry, the film filled with humour and warmth to start with, before becoming increasingly darkened and chilling as the film concludes.
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