12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Deserves every accolade,
This review is from: The Last King Of Scotland [DVD]  (DVD)
I was gripped by this film within minutes of it beginning. Not a scene is wasted. It opens with a brief montage in which we see Nicholas' carefree life and graduation in Britain. He graduates with such idealism and hope that he randomly ends up going to Uganda where he feels his medical skills are most needed. This provides both a contrast and an explanation for his later behaviour when he is swaddled in luxury and privelege by his benefactor, Idi Amin.
I knew somehting of Amin's rule as I was growing up and I remember being surprised in 2003 on hearing that he had died- I thought he had died many years previously. I had heard rumours of his cannibalism and rumours of his outrageous faxes to our Queen headed "Dear Liz". What this film, and Forest Whitaker demonstrates so ably is that Amin was a deadly combination of total evil and a child like fun loving charm. Towards the end Dr Nicholas tells him that he is a child in a man's body and that's what makes him so dangerous.
Nicholas (superbly played by James Macavoy), being an idealist himself, is seduced by new leader Amin's idealism and is carried along by the attention Amin lavishes on him. As his tenure under Amin unfolds, there are warning signs that all is not as it seems and soon Nicholas finds colleagues disappearing and the British diplomats warning him of the dangers of his position. It is not until it is almost too late that Nicholas' eyes are opened to the true evil of which Amin is capable. Towards the end there are two scenes in particular that are extremely, shockingly grisly but it is to the director's credit that such gore is not exposed randomly or gratuitiously throughout. The ending is appropriate in many ways and that is all I will say.
Forest Whitaker fully deserved his Oscar. He displays the kind of loyalty inspiring charisma that helps to explain how such an evil man gained power. He is big too, as Amin was, towering above all his soldiers. Macavoy is perfectly cast as the pretty boy charmer who, carried away with his own bit of power, makes his own mistakes too. A fantastic film that will stay with me for a very long time.