Last King of Scotland
DVD Reviews | Apr 15th, 2007
Starring Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Gillian Anderson, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney
Written By: Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
Directed By: Kevin MacDonald
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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Forest Whitaker stars, in what is his most prolific role to date, as Idi Amin, Uganda’s dictator based in the 1970’s. Based on true events, The Last King of Scotland takes a look at the uprising of a monstrous dictator through the eyes of a young Scottish Doctor, Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy.) A Powerful and intense thriller that opens the eyes of those who were unaware of Amin’s actions and also serves as a painful reminder of those aware of Idi Amin.
Nicholas Garrigan is a young Scottish doctor, right out of Medical school and wants to go somewhere where he can make a difference, ultimately to please his father. For some reason, the brash Doctor decides on Uganda and journeys off to a small village in a rural area of the country. While working there, Nicholas meets Idi Amin, Uganda’s new ruler of the land. Nicholas is impressed with Amin’s love for Scotland and how he wants to bring about a new change of freedom and peace to Uganda. It would turn out to be quite the opposite as Nicholas would find out later. Uprooted from his job, Amin gives Dr. Nicholas a chance to be head of the National Health Department and Amin’s personal physician, and Nicholas gladly accepts, which he soon may regret. Idi Amin appears to be this friendly, educated, and trusting General and brings Nicholas closest to him as an advisor. Nicholas then goes on to realize his duties as a doctor may be put on the back burner as he is asked to do other “favors” for Amin. One of which is heading up a meeting in Amin’s place as he is out of the country. Nicholas also feels like he has to be honest with Amin at all times and watch his back, while the rest of the nation is started to realize Amin is more of a dictator than the man that was removed prior. Nicholas should also have plenty of worrying to do since he has an affair with one of Amin”s wives, and despite having several wives, Amin would be extremely displeased if he were to find out. The story culminates with a well known plane hijacking in Entebbe by Palestinians of Israeli’s and Jews, and Nicholas tries to seize that moment to show the world what a monster Idi Amin really is. People around the world first saw Amin during that time, and would soon see even more of him.
Forest Whitaker was amazing as Amin as he really transformed himself to be the Ugandan Dictator, but to be honest, he wasn’t the leading actor. James McAvoy’s Doctor Nicholas Garrigan was the leading character with most of the story and screen time devoted to him. Idi Amin was certainly a big part of the story and the reason for the movie, but Nicholas was the central character. I can see why the filmmakers and studio pushed Whitaker in the Lead Actor category at the Oscars, in which he easily won. James McAvoy is still not a household name yet and certainly not a Marquee go-to actor yet. His work in the film is great as well and should be recognized I believe as well as the supporting cast and especially the People of Uganda for allowing the film to be shot in the country. It certainly is a special place in the world.
Several extra featurettes can be found on this disc including a great documentary on the real Idi Amin and where the filmmakers got their inspiration. Several deleted scenes also were featured and most really didn’t do much to add to the story but served as character development. The one that was interesting was the Forest Whitaker featurette which showed how the actor got the part, and developed the character, which entailed visiting with Idi Amin’s family and locals who remember the General.
The Last King of Scotland wasn’t the greatest film but certainly was made better by the work of Forest Whitaker. James McAvoy did a very good job as Doctor Nicholas Garrigan, a fictional character, surrounding a real life person. While McAvoy was the central character, Whitaker stole the show as Idi Amin. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing this role. It’s also amazing that a man like Amin could be responsible for so much harm in one country. It serves as a reminder for what this world is facing now.
-7 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Kevin MacDonald
-Exclusive Documentary: Capturing Idi Amin
-Forest Whitaker Idi Amin Featurette
-Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session – The Last King Of Scotland
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Surround
Widescreen 2.35:1 Color
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: Idi Amin and the Doctor Meet, Amin’s personal Physician, Betrayal, Entebbe
Running Time: 123 minutes