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The Last King of Scotland (R)





Release Date: September 27th, 2006 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Cast: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney and Gillian Anderson.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald.

BASIC PREMISE: In the 1970ís, Nicholas Garrigan (McAvoy) forms a bond with , Ugandaís dictator, Idi Amin, while working as his personal physician. Based on a true story.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Forest Whitaker, long due for an Oscar nomination, gives an outstanding performance as Idi Amin. Not only does he pull off a convincing accent, but also does a great job of balancing Aminís arrogant, dark side with a friendly and charming side (for the most part). Nicholas Garrigan, a young Scottish doctor, visits Uganda on a medical mission and, soon enough, befriends and works for him. Gillian Anderson briefly shows up as a doctor who lets Nicholas kiss her, but quickly rejects further advances toward her because she wants to remain loyal to her husband. This romantic subplot feels a bit contrived and briefly distracting from the much more interesting main plot that focuses on Nicholas and Aminís relationship which gradually gets tumultuous. Nicholas notices Aminís insanity and cruelty when he witnesses the brutal violence and corruption under his regime. Jeremy Brock and Peter Morgan do a superb job of naturally showing how a seemingly good, warm friend could turn into an enemy. To bring out Aminís more human side, they include some well-needed comic relief in one sceneóalthough itís another kind of relief for Amin. Director Kevin Macdonald includes flashy cinematography with occasionally scenic shots of Uganda wildlife and builds up some tension through the pulse-pounding music score, particularly in the third act as the inevitable violence ensues. Ultimately, Whitakerís Oscar-worthy performance makes this film truly powerful from start to finish.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Evil comes in many different disguises. Unfortunately, Nicholas learns that lesson the hard way by falling for Aminís friendliness and charm.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0

IN A NUTSHELL: Powerful and riveting. Forest Whitaker gives an Oscar-worthy performance.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)


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