Last King Of Scotland, The (2006)

If it's nae Scottish it's crap
If it's nae Scottish it's crap

Genre: Drama Thriller (UK)

Starring: Forest Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai; Platoon), James McAvoy (Strings; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Directed By: Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September)

Overview: A newly graduated doctor decides to ply his craft for the less fortunate in Uganda. Upon meeting Idi Amin, who in turn makes him his personal physician, he discovers all too late the truth of the man behind the uniform.


The main character isn't actually Idi Amin, it's his Scottish physician, which surprised me, as did his tremendous acting. As for Forest, he stopped surprising me recently with his role in "The Shield: Season 5". His Oscar's well deserved.
Rating: 9


The 70s look was indeed a nice touch. The shooting style changed for the dynamic best for those thrilling moments, but I was genuinely astounded by a camera trick that was played on occasion. During Idi's opening speech he mentions how he loves Uganda and puts his fist to his heart. The camera pans down, following his fist to focus on that moment. Later, Amin is ranting in his office, and he stretches out his arms, the camera follows his hand for a brief moment. I'm not one to go on about the symbolic representation of little moments like this... actually yes I am... but it was powerful, innovative and helped span the character's power, his reach and his love of his country. Something simple like that... Hell, the whole film is full of artistic blasts of awesome.
Rating: 10


Scottish? Ha! Ha! Why didn't you say so? Great soldiers. Very brave. And good people. Completely. Let me tell you, if I could be anything instead of a Ugandan, I would be a Scot...except for the red hair, which I'm sure is attractive to your women, but which we Africans, we find is quite disgusting.

With enough smatterings of comedy to make this thriller human, we consistently see a very different side of Idi Amin than we already knew, you know, the reign of terror bit. This is tremendously well written as a personal approach to the life of an infamous dictator.
Rating: 8


Perfectly paced, we follow a Scot as he becomes part of the influential inner circle of a madman, in short. I found it to be a very interesting approach, seeing the crimes and malignance under that facade of jolly innocence. It makes sense. Why would you learn about what's happening in the provinces when you're at headquarters living it up? Have no fear though, we do eventually see the full force of Amin's power, and rather than watching his life unfold, we follow the observer we knew nothing about, which makes it a fresh tale, no matter how much you know on the subject.
Rating: 9


Once upon a time white people played black people. Figuring early on that that was wrong (if not confusing), they stopped doing that, but they didn't stop doing blackface for a loooong time after, but in context of minstrelry, you know the African-American Soutern traveling shows. Ted Danson got ragged on for pulling blackface at Whoopie Goldberg's roast, even though she thought it was hilarious. I guess it's a great sign of the times when a black man can pull blackface and not get yelled at. Yeah, Idi was an especially dark man, Forest not so much. Subtle make up job, but I noticed. I guess it could be worse... Um, as for the overall mood, I found that the thriller aspect was forced a smidge too much on occasion, to the point that I wondered who put them up to it.
Rating: 8

Aye, there's the rub
Aye, there's the rub. You know your protagonist is an idiot when...

Overall Rating: 88% (A Crowning Achievement)

Looks like this year Oscar knew what he was talking about. Perhaps last year's choices were less plentiful in the realm of excellence, but this year everything I've seen so far is bang on... I guess I should get around to The Departed...

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