The Last King of Scotland

Year: 2006
Production Co: DNA Films
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Kevin McDonald
Cast: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson
What a worthy subject for a movie, and what a treat Forest Whitaker makes of it. His Idi Amin is absolutely capitivating and he deserves the Oscar it won him every step of the way.

James McAvoy is the protagonist and strangely, the movie isn't even about Amin as such, but he carries off every scene he appears in from the time the camera follows his intimidating frame up the stairs to a stage to extol his policies to a crowd of jubilant villagers.

Young Scottish doctor Nicholas (McAvoy), an amalgam of several characters from real life, leaves home in search of adventure after finishing his medical studies rather than go into stuffy practice like his father wants. He finds himself in the thrilling, sweaty and scary climes of eastern Africa where a chance encounter after a minor car accident puts him in the dictator's path. Amin (Whitaker) is entranced by the young man - especially the fact he's Scottish - and offers him a job as his personal doctor.

Nicholas soon falls under Amin's charismatic spell, unaware of the quagmire of violence and corruption Amin's regime is descending into all around them until it's terrifyingly too late.

I didn't like McAvoy or his character. There's something too smug and arrogant about him. Part of it is because he ignored the bloodshed going on around him, but to be fair to the character Nicholas doesn't have the benefit of hindsight like we do, and who can say we'd react any different during Amin's reign or that of the Nazi Third Reich while bribed with luxurious living?

But like most of the world and the Oscar committee, I could watch Whitaker's Amin again and again.

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