38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Last King Of Scotland - 70s retro,
This review is from: The Last King Of Scotland [DVD]  (DVD)
Set in 1970, this film follows the adventures of newly-qualified doctor Nicholas Garrigan (played by James McAvoy) as he seeks something racier than following his father into the family practice. More or less at random he picks work as an overseas medical officer in Uganda. On the bus into the country he declares, on sighting his first monkey, "if we had monkeys in Scotland we'd probably deep-fry them" before breaking his journey to make jiggy-jiggy with the first local girl he speaks to.
Upon arrival at the mission hospital - a day late - he soon finds that the heavy clinical workload is both emotionally overwhelming and not to his taste. A chance meeting with newly-installed president Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) leads to an offer he can hardly refuse to become the president's personal physician. However he soon finds that he is in over his head and has to turn for help to the bourgeois types in the British establishment that he had come to Africa to avoid.
James McAvoy's character is a thrill-seeking charmer who smokes, drinks and services his libido with as many attractive women as he can. Both he and Idi Amin see something of themselves in each others eyes, though Idi Amin wins hands down in the psychopathy stakes. Forest Whitaker plays the fickle egotist brilliantly and avoids the pantomime psycho act in favour of a more believable and even sympathetic character - the film shows that he's not just being paranoid, they really are out to get him!
On the down side, Dr Garrigan at times felt like a gap-yearing member of the ipod generation who had been time-warped into a Graham Greene story. Would a young doctor in 1970 be so naive and reckless?
This film has great scenery and characters and accurately depicts the clothes, buildings and vehicles of the time and place it is set. Well worth seeing more than once.