The Last King of Scotland
The Last King of Scotland is an insane movie. Insane because of it’s subject matter. Based on true events, it’s hard to understand how a man who came to power to free his people, could so quickly turn against them. It certainly brings light to the maxim; power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
No matter what Idi Amin’s goals were when he came to power, a combination of paranoia and child like instability caused a downward spiral until all that was left was rage.
Caught up in the middle of this was a well-intentioned Scottish Doctor, who was in Uganda to escape the shadow of his successful father, to help people and to have a good time. Seduced by he charm and power of Amin, Nicholas Garrigan becomes his personal physician, and eventually most trusted aid.
Of course as things start to spiral out of control, Nicolas finds himself trapped in a nightmare he can’t escape, realising too late that he had aided and abetted the devil.
The usually gentle natured Forest Whittaker plays the role with uncanny, brutal reality, giving the legend of Amin a schizophrenic nature that sits comfortably with a man who was your best friend one minute and your sworn enemy the next. It’s as far outside of Whittaker’s normal roles as I have seen, but he handles the charismatic dictator with ease.
Flamboyant and immature, James McAvoy was going to be my pick as the actor who let the movie down – I didn’t have much faith in the guy to pull his role off – but he did. His impetuous care free nature was easy to pull off, but he also played a convincing scared-for-my-life snared rat, that he helped make The Last King of Scotland an unforgettable, brutal and horrific masterpiece.
Food for thought
Never forget your original purpose.