Sunday, October 24, 2010

Last King of Scotland: A Film Review...

Meeting a near dictionary definition of a "thriller" The Last King of Scotland will not satisfy action fans looking for gunplay and explosions.

It does, however, slowly build tension and suspense from the beginning and culminate in an end that resolves little, leaving the viewer without a nicely tied up package, and without a clean ending for anyone.

Whitaker's portrayal of the psychotic/schizophrenic Idi Amin is fantastic and McAvoy is just as solid as the fictional and naive Dr. Garrigan.

The story mixes both the historical and the fictional to take a closer look at Idi Amin beyond just the surface headlines that most are familiar with.  Still beloved by many Ugandans to this day for his "connection" to his people, his is a familiar story of a dictator whose people often look beyond the horrors of a regime they have been deluded into believing is operating for their betterment.

This is not to say that "whites" are given a free pass either.  McAvoy portrays your typical over educated, idealistic Westerner who travels to the ends of the Earth in an attempt to satisfy his lust for "adventure" under the guise of helping others and delving into another culture.  In fact, like most Westerners, he is driven out of a lack of satisfaction with his comfortable life at home in Scotland, can't keep his pants on and has no thought for the repercussions of his actions.

Lastly, the film is directed by the same man, Kevin Macdonald, who helmed Touching the Void, another  very good film (better in my opinion that this) that can also be thrown into the "thriller" category.  Macdonald, a Scotsman himself, concentrated early in his career on biographical films and has branched into biographical recreations (Touching the Void), and mixtures of history and fiction (The Last King of Scotland) with equal aplomb.

This is one to defiantely enjoy.

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