Feb 18, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

Forest Whitaker WILL win Best Actor at next week's Academy Awards. His performance in The Last King of Scotland assures him of that. He is a force of nature in his stunning portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. By the way, the film is marvelous, a vivid, realistic portrayal of human excesses and failings. The film begins in 1970 Scotland when Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), just graduated from Medical School, decides to escape the family nest and head for Uganda on a whim seeking adventure and perhaps putting his newly found skills to good use. A chance meeting with the new President Idi Amin, by way of a coup, turns into an offer from Amin for the young Scot to be his personal physician. Amin is impressed by his forthright manner and the fact that the President has a curious love of Scotland. From there the movie takes us on a whirlwind ride through the Amin administration as the new President turns from lovable folk hero to maniacal despot. Garrigan, a purely fictional character, gives us a vivid insight into the extreme excesses of unchecked human greed and power. McAvoy, largely a TV actor, is excellent as the naive Scot. But Whitaker is larger then life as the brutal dictator, as his character swings from one emotional extreme to another. At times gregarious, then the next minute swinging into fits of rage. The Last King of Scotland will definitely be one of the best films you will see in 2007.

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