LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE: DVD
Naïve young Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan (James McEvoy) turns up in Uganda of the 70s at the time of the latest coup, with romantic notions of being able to help the less fortunate. Through a series of circumstances, he gets to meet the newly installed, post-coup President, General Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker), who takes a liking to him and makes him the President's personal physician. Garrigan is at first oblivious to the ghastly reality of Idi Amin's destructive leadership and brutal oppression of opponents, and when his eyes are opened, he is horrified. But not before he has a deadly affair with one of Amin's wives, Kay (Kerry Washington), and not before he has caused more trauma rather than helped.
Review by Louise Keller:
Forest Whitaker's towering performance as Idi Amin is frighteningly realistic, in his portrayal of the larger-than-life violent, madman dictator president of Uganda. It's the performance of his career, as he displays infectious charm alongside callous violence. The Last King of Scotland is a potent film that superbly describes the volatile African climate of the day. Revealing much about the torrid times in the troubled continent and combining real events with fiction, the film tells an extraordinary story of a young Scottish doctor who is dazzled by power and sucked into a corrupt society.
Our journey is through the eyes of naive Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), whose idealistic spin of the globe after graduation sends him to Uganda. There he looks for three things - he seeks adventure, wants to make a difference, as well as have fun. He does all those things, although the difference he makes is far from what he might have imagined. When Dr Garrigan first sees Amin at a rally, he is impressed by the big man with the big voice who promises everything to the people. Amin is drawn to Garrigan for his decision-making ability and then because he is Scottish. Amin's fascination for Scotland's history and culture leads to incongruous scenes of native women singing Loch Lomond, with the African leader wearing a green kilt. The role of physician to the President has many facets as Garrigan discovers, including that of most trusted advisor. But while Amin respects the doctor's honesty, there are other times when he coldly tells him 'These do not concern you. You're nothing but a doctor - get out.'
Life soon becomes more and more complicated. Garrigan's hands become sullied firstly when he betrays one of Amin's ministers, and then embarks on a dangerous and passionate affair with Amin's beautiful third wife (Kerry Washington). The horrors of the regime become plain to see with shocking scenes and horrific repercussions from actions taken. Director Kevin Macdonald's adaptation of Giles Foden's award-winning novel makes full use of tight close ups, so effective as we see the sweat shining. This is a vital and disturbing film that exposes much that is ugly and corrupt. Yet it is a compelling and unique story that touches on the emotions and the circumstances that are in every way, extraordinary.
On DVD, this powerful film is complemented by an audio commentary by director Kevin McDonald, deleted scenes and a documentary on Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin.
Published June 7, 2007
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LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE: DVD (MA)
CAST: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney
PRODUCER: Andrea Calderwood, Christine Ruppert, Charles Steel, Lisa Bryer,
DIRECTOR: Kevin Macdonald
SCRIPT: Jeremy Brock, Peter Morgan (novel by Giles Foden)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony Dod Mantle
EDITOR: Justine Wright
MUSIC: Alex Heffes
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Carlin
RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 1, 2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Director Kevin McDonald; Deleted scenes; Documentary: Capturing Idi Amin; Forest Whitaker 'Idi Amin'; The casting session
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: June 13, 2007
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.