Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

December 4, 2020

The Last King of Scotland review

Filed under: Our FIlms,Their Films — Rajeev @ 4:45 pm

Mar 02, 2007

Cast: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson

Director: Kevin Macdonald

This weekend make a trip to the multiplex to catch a screening of The Last King of Scotland, an engrossing political thriller centred around the relationship between Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and his personal physician Dr Nicholas Garrigan. Now it’s a fictional story, but it’s remarkably well told and superbly acted.

Essentially the film tracks Garrigan’s story — a young Scottish doctor who shows up in Uganda on a whim, partly to do good and partly to have a good time. He’s handpicked by Amin to serve him personally, and Garrigan seems blind initially to his employer’s evil ways. By the time he realises what he’s got himself into, it’s a little too late.

The best thing about this film is undoubtedly the performances by its two protagonists. James McAvoy plays Garrigan with wide-eyed enthusiasm, and he’s got real charm, in fact the young actor is so enigmatic, you can understand exactly why someone like Amin would trust him with his life. Of course the performance that blows your mind is Forest Whitaker’s.

He plays Amin as a charismatic and fun-loving chap, but then he becomes another person when you see rage in his eyes. Don’t forget this is a man responsible for some 300,000 deaths. I’ve been saying all along it’s a carefully modulated performance, the way Whitaker transforms himself to suit the moment. It’s an Oscar well-deserved.

The film itself doesn’t lose grip and although it’s not the stuff dreams are made of, it’s two hours well-spent. Watch it for Whitaker, this is what acting is all about. Don’t miss The Last King of Scotland, it’s a highly engaging watch.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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