Friday, June 29, 2012

The Last King of Scotland

In one moment early on in Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland, Ugandan leader Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) is delivering a speech. Cut to Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) watching Amin speak on the floor below. There's a look of marvel in Nicholas' eyes as he listens to the speech.

Amin actually appoints Nicholas as his personal physician, something Nicholas accepts very graciously. He is thrilled to be working for someone as prolific as Amin. But Nicholas soon sees the true nature of Idi Amin, something that results into a living nightmare.

Although not an entirely true tale, it's still fascinating to watch. Seeing so much promise turn completely sour with the simple change of a personality. It's a haunting sight to behold when you're in its presence.

The performances from Whitaker and McAvoy are superb. Whitaker displays a power-hungry madness underneath a charismatic persona. McAvoy, who should really have an Oscar nod or two by now, is compelling to watch as he goes from bystander to ally to victim of Amin's reign.

The Last King of Scotland in all honesty is a remarkable film. Whitaker and McAvoy are great in their roles. Macdonald presents the audience a cautionary story where the moral is don't believe everything you see. Sometimes it's just smoke and mirrors.

My Rating: *****

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