Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

The Last King of Scotland is very loosely based on Idi Amin's reign of terror over Uganda focusing on the relationship of his personal doctor, who Amin turns to for advice on current events that are unfolding due to his increasingly militant and erratic behaviour and it's deadly consequences.

Dr. Nicholas Garrigan's character, played by James McAvoy, is also very loosely based on Amin's English-born associate Bob Astles. He initially comes to Uganda to work in a small rural hospital but after Amin visits the town and requires medical attention, he makes such an impression that he is lured into becoming Amin's personal physician and is slowly up to his eyes in Amin's world of moral corruption and with blood on his hands.

Whilst the film is intriguing and excellently acted by both McAvoy and Forest Whitaker [Amin], it lacks the wider picture of what happened in Uganda with the death of 300,000 people being a footnote at the end of the movie, which is also a horribly Holywood ending to boot. Indeed, the book differes hugely from the film and even the director, Kevin McDonald, disuaded the actors from reading it because of this fact.

It would be interesting to see a more direct translation of the book or indeed a documentary on the genocide itself rather than a watered down version of a truly horrific real-life event. Nevertheless, it is an entirely watchable film which will hopefully pave the way for a more ground-based and true-to-life adaptation of Amin's reign or provide impetus for viewers to find out more for themselves.

I would give this film 6.4 despot rulers out of 10

Find out more about Idi Amin here.



Blogger Skry said...

I entirely agree with everything you say. Is there a blue moon or something?!?

The film did indeed lack a lot of information about Uganda at the time, with a foot-note at the end and a few black and white photo's towards the end of the movie.

However there were a few gritty scenes that brought to life the reality of what was happening outside in the real Uganda. The only down side was, like you say, the Hollywood ending that watered down the impact of the visciousness and brutality of Amin's reign.

I guess as an interesting weekend movie I would say that this is very enjoyable - all the actors in the movie played their parts very well. But as an informative film it is greatly lacking and I have in fact looked up Wiki for more info on Idi Amin...

12:08 am  

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