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The Last King of Scotland


Tom’s Recommended Film of the Week


The Last King of Scotland


In the 1970’s we all watched Idi Amin’s rule of Uganda with an almost morbid fascination. Some 300,000 Ugandan citizens were killed while Amin solidified power and gave way to his paranoia. With only 20 years of perspective behind us, Giles Foden tackled the job of writing a fictional novel based on the idea of a naive Scottish Doctor traveling to a mission in Uganda and eventually being sucked into the Amin regime as medical adviser to the dictator. A grand concept and one, which allowed both Foden as novelist and Kevin MacDonald as the films director to draw us into the intrigue, glory and horror, as implicated partners of the young Dr. Garrigan. We can relate to James McAvoy in his role as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, we naturally gravitate to his perspective and as a result, find ourselves wanting to help and direct him out of his somewhat self imposed predicaments. On the other hand we can clearly see the reflection of his arrogance in years of colonial rule in Africa on the whole. This all makes for a very thought provoking film, while the central character of Amin, played by a dazzling Forest Whitaker, who won an Best Actor Academy Award for this role, creates a very compelling, freight train of a movie.


The Last King of Scotland is an excellent example of the types of films I like the most, ones that both entertain and allow for some introspection and discussion. Be cautioned however, that there are a few graphically violent and disturbing images, as one would expect from a story about Idi Amin, one of the 20th Centuries most eloquently ruthless mass murderers.

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