Monday, April 02, 2007

'the last king of scotland'

when idi amin assumed power in uganda in the early 70s,a young scottish doctor decided to travel to uganda by impulse to serve as a member of the un mission.he happened to meet idi amin by chance and the chance meeting ended with amin taking him in as a close adviser.nicholas garrigan(james mcavory),the young doctor, was swept away by idi amin's charisma but then later had to suffer his brutality.

forest whittaker won an oscar this year for a superb performance as the ugandan dictator idi amin.kevin macdonald's debut direction was a brilliant start to his adaptation of the novel of the same name written by giles fiden.

the movie begins with idi amin getting injured in a car accident and the young scottish doctor who happens to be there is asked to treat him.distracted and pained by the suffering of a cow which was hit by the car,the doctor takes hold of idi amin's gun and mercykills the cow.impressed by garrigan's guts and chutzpah,idi amin makes him his personal physician and advisor.little did garrigan know then what he was in for.

admiration quickly transforms into hatred,as the brutality of idi amin surfaces every now and then.a comment by garrigan on the health minister leads to the minister's killing.garrigan wants to throw in the towel.idi amin would have none of it and confiscates his passport.a britsh diplomat encourages garrigan to poison idi amin which he tries later with disastrous immature youngster, garrigan enters into a liasion with one of idi amin's wives.he even impregnates her.idi amin finds out about the affair and mutilates her.when he is caught red handed trying to poison idi amin,amin feels he has had enough of the doctor.the doctor is brutally ugandan doctor saves him but the doctor is killed.
the entebbe episode is shown at the end and along with the hostages who are released garrigan escapes in the time idi amin realises and rushes to the airport,garrigan has given the slip and is safely cruising at high altitufde.

the picture is not is mix of history and fiction.forest whittaker immereses himself in the role.for five months all he did and thought was idi amin.he went to sleep ,he says,and would be dreaming like idi amin.the east african accent which he cultivated later he found it difficult to shed off.he also says that he took showers to get the guy to leave him as he wanted to wash off those darker passions away.playing the role of his lifetime as the barbaric and charismatic ruler who killed an estimated 300,000 people,whittaker is on fire throughout the film and keeps the audience rivetted to their seats.the tension and camaraderie between the brutal amin and the brazen young doctor has been well brought out.

an extremely well directed film,strong performance from whittaker and wonderful music are the highlights of this history cum fiction movie.


Lotus Reads said...

What a nicely-written review, gs! I have had my eye on this movie ever since it came to Toronto as a part of the Toronto International Film Festival in October 2006. I always knew this would be a great film to watch, but I didn't know how great until I read your review. Now I hope it won't be too long before we see a DVD release for it, for I definitely want to watch this movie! I would be interested in finding out which parts of the story were embellishments and which were historical facts...guess I will have to go to the film's website for more information.

gs said...

hello lr
many thanks for your comments.though i have not read any biography of idi amin, i have read that there is a lot of fiction in the movie.the young scottish doctor getting carried away by the idi amin charisma is an example. i suppose that there must be many more.history is full of atrocities committed by unscruplous dictators.i won't be surprised if somebody produces a movie on saddam hussein soon.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi again, gs!

I finally saw "Last King of Scotland" and enjoyed it immensely! Points from your review kept coming back to me as I watched the I want to know more about Idi Amin, his reign and the Indians that were forced to leave. Thanks for recommending this movie so highly!

gs said...

hi lr
whether one likes idi amin or despises him,the movie is eminently watchable particularly because of the outstanding acting of james whittaker who almost brought idi amin back in flesh and blood.there are some intersting facets of his life.he seems to have lived in scotland and loved the country very much.hence the name of the movie.he was fond of the english and their way of life which he tried to imitate.he was brought to power by the british who finally planned his removal.he committed many atrocities including those on indian women.the saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely", is very true in idi amin's case.