The Last King of Scotland

( 9 )


Director Kevin MacDonald teams with screenwriter Jeremy Brock to adapt Giles Foden's novel detailing the brutal reign of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin as seen through the eyes of his personal physician. James McAvoy stars as the doctor who slowly realizes that he is trapped in an inescapable nightmare, and Forest Whitaker assumes the role of the notorious despot.
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Director Kevin MacDonald teams with screenwriter Jeremy Brock to adapt Giles Foden's novel detailing the brutal reign of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin as seen through the eyes of his personal physician. James McAvoy stars as the doctor who slowly realizes that he is trapped in an inescapable nightmare, and Forest Whitaker assumes the role of the notorious despot.
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Special Features

7 deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Kevin MacDonald; Forest Whitaker Idi Amin featurette; Capturing Idi Amin documentary; Fox Movie Channel presents casting session - The Last King of Scotland
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
More fun that one might expect considering the subject matter, the first 20 minutes of Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland establishes James McAvoy's Nicholas Garrigan as a good looking, charming young rogue. Freshly graduated from medical school, he rebels against his conventional father by traveling to Uganda, where he indulges his desire for grand adventure and casual sex. Realistically embodying both the most repellent and attractive elements of his character, McAvoy evokes both sympathy and disgust in the audience, while Macdonald's expert pacing sacrifices neither momentum nor character development. It's a fascinating premise to explore how such a hedonistic youth becomes the lackey of a brutal dictator, and by the time a series of events brings Garrigan face-to-face with Idi Amin, then just beginning his rise to power, the audience clearly understands how Amin is able to so easily get the cocky doctor under his control. Basking in the attentions of a nation's leader feeds Garrigan's grand vision of himself, and grounds the events that follow in a fascinating psychological framework. Forest Whitaker's intense performance as Amin dominates The Last King of Scotland. His ability to be simultaneously ingratiating yet ceaselessly intense keeps the viewer on edge. The intricate emotional dance performed by the two lead actors gradually builds until Garrigan realizes Amin's deadly paranoia and egomania -- forcing the doctor to recognize the worst elements within himself. They say a good way to discover what a film is about is to look at what changed between the beginning and the end. If we apply this rule to The Last King of Scotland, it would appear that Garrigan is at the center of the story. However, the very end of the film focuses on Amin's downfall rather than Garrigan's return home. This is understandable, as the fate of the authoritarian ruler and his people is too important to ignore. Also, Whitaker's towering performance demands attention -- it's hard not to fixate on his screen presence -- but the movie would need one more scene of Garrigan digesting all that has happened to him in order for the film to maximize its impact on an audience. Fortunately, the remarkable acting by both men, and the stylish directing, makes The Last King of Scotland an engaging tale of humankind succumbing to its own worst instincts.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/2/2010
  • UPC: 024543647959
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Fox Searchlight
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 2:03:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 19,582

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Forest Whitaker Idi Amin
James McAvoy Nicholas Garrigan
Kerry Washington Kay Amin
Gillian Anderson Sarah Merrit
Simon McBurney Stone
David Oyelowo Dr. Junju
Stephen Rwangyezi Jonah Wasswa
Abby Mukiibi Masanga
Adam Kotz Dr. Merrit
Sam Okello Bonny
Sarah Nagayi Tolu
Chris Wilson Perkins
Dr. Dick Stockley Times Journalist
Barbara Rafferty Mrs. Garrigan
David Ashton Dr. Garrigan (Senior)
Daniel Ssettaba Kay Amin's Servant
Apollo Okwenje Omamo Mackenzie Amin
Louis Asea Campbell Amin
Giles Foden British Journalist 1
Andy Williams British Journalist 2
Martina Amati Italian Journalist
Rene Peissker German Journalist
Stern Jedidian American Journalist
Dave A. Tarun Asian Tailor
Clare Wandera Secretary
Cleopatra Koheirwe Joy
Joanitta B. Wandera Malyamu Amin
Consodyne Buzabo Nora Amin
Peter Salmon White Businessman
Michael Wawuyo Air Force Commander
Wilberforce Mutete Guard
Haruna Walusimbi Guard
Muhammed Kaweesa Idi's Double
Grace Mugenyi Idi's Double
John Bosco Obiya Idi's Double
John Olima Bagpiper
Angela Kalule Chanteuse at Nightclub
Sam Namatiti Bass/Keyboards
Mathias Muwonge African Xylophone/Lyre
Joseph Kahirimbanyi Guitar
Afrigo Band Band at Party
Ndere Troupe Dancers at Rally
The Nyonza Singers Choir at Parliament
Alex Heffes Conductor
Technical Credits
Kevin Macdonald Director
Marcus Alexander Producer
Suzy Belcher Makeup
Ros Borland Co-producer
Jeremy Brock Screenwriter
Lisa Bryer Producer
Eigil Bryld Cinematographer
Andrea Calderwood Producer
Michael Carlin Production Designer
George Every Asst. Director
Elektrofilm Postproduction Facilities Sound/Sound Designer
Clare Gerrard Camera Operator
Alex Heffes Score Composer
Stuart Howell Camera Operator
Dianne Jamieson Makeup
Abi Leland Musical Direction/Supervision
Andrew Macdonald Executive Producer
Anthony Dod Mantle Cinematographer
Sharon Martin Makeup
Peter Morgan Screenwriter
Angela Murray Production Manager
Elizabeth Florence Naigaga Camera Operator
Vicki Patterson Associate Producer
Allon Reich Executive Producer
Tessa Ross Executive Producer
Christine Ruppert Co-producer
Helen Speyer Makeup
Eddie Stacey Stunts
Charles Steel Producer
Joannah Stutchbury Art Director
Joanitta B. Wandera Casting
Suzanne Warren Associate Producer
Michael Wollmann Sound/Sound Designer
Justine Wright Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sometimes They Get it Right

    Idi Amin was a brutal tyrant who's almost sociopathic nature gave him a sort of charisma that would enable him to lead a country, all the while tormenting its people. This film, while fictional throughout, captured the personality and brutal unpredictable nature of Amin's run in Uganda. The actors did an amazing job and this movie is a must for any history buff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding Only Because of Whitaker

    Although Amin has left the geopolitical landscape a long time ago and his colorful cruelty was forgotten, thanks to the brilliant and gifted actor Forrest Whitaker do we get a glimpse into the very evil character of one of the most evil characters of the 20th Century. Dr. Garrigan, a highly aristocratic and naive neer-do-well, somehow locks his attention on the power, the finesse of Idi Amin's charms without eying the dark underbelly. It caused him his sanity, the love of his life, and a promising physician's career. Along the way, we were treated to many of Amin's sins: torture, mass murder, sadism, and the like which I don't think I have to get into. Oddly enough, to which I didn't know, he liked the Scots. Interesting fact, see, you can learn things from movies!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    How Dictators Rise...and Fall

    THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND delves into the history of Ugandan leadership in the 1970s with gusto. One of the characters (Sarah, the doctor's wife) wisely observes that the crowds that fill the streets cheering as Idi Amin takes control from Milton Obote had the same reaction for the previous dictator and will have the same for the one who follows Amin. It is that aspect of this very fine film that hits home: the people desperately want to be ruled by a hero who will care for them and they maintain hope that each successive 'hero' will be better. Director Kevin Macdonald bases his 'biography' on the fictionalized novel of the same name by Giles Foden, transformed into a fine screenplay by Jeremy Brock. In order for us to understand the full nature of Idi Amin the story is told through the eyes of a fresh young Scottish physician Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) who leaves his home looking of adventure and settles in Uganda as a mission doctor with Dr. David Merrit (Adam Kotz) and his beautiful wife Sarah (Gillian Anderson). Garrigan learns his role quickly, is attracted to Sarah, but Sarah is wise and turns Garrigan's attention to the rising problem of the overthrow of the Ugandan government by the enigmatic Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). An incident occurs that draws Garrigan into Amin's favor and much against the advice of Sarah, Garrigan falls under the spell of Amin, becoming his official physician. The two men form a warm bond of friendship and trust and it is through this bond that we see the human aspect of Idi Amin, a man born poor but who has risen to power due much to the connection with the British he loathes. Gradually Garrigan sees the inner workings of Amin's mind, his madness and his ever-increasing brutality as he faces a world as the dictator who will control everything. Garrigan has an unfortunate affair with one of Amin's wives Kay (the very beautiful and gifted Kerry Washington) and as the country is falling under the slaughtering of Amin, Garrigan finally sees his implication in the rule and undergoes the turnabout effects of Amin's brutal strategy. The film ends very quietly with and reenactment of the incident at Entebbe that brought the world's attention to the heinous dictator of Uganda. Forest Whitaker is brilliant as Amin: he has obviously studied the man from newsreels and has been able to go beyond press reports to find the humble man who rose to power. McAvoy embodies the fictional physician and has far more screen time and a more sophisticated role than Whitaker and deserves more praise for this performance than he has received. The entire cast is excellent. For once a film about the violence that erupts too often in Africa pays more attention to characters and the gorgeous landscape of Africa than to fighting and killing: the evidence of Amin's mass murders is shown in photographs and the monstrosity his deeds is carefully focused on one particularly heinous death. The musical score by Alex Heffes uses native songs and rarely calls attention to itself - the mark of a brilliant composer. In the end THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND serves up a hefty slice of history altered by fiction to enhance the storyline but presents a case for how Amin came to power and the indomitable spirit of the people of Uganda despite the government. A fine film on many levels. Grady Harp

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    great look at the mind of a dictator

    The movie does a great job of showing the ways people can get sucked into the most terrible of situations with a little economic and political incentive. The good doctor gets sucked into the world of Idi Amin and has a terrifying experience all because he gets sucked into the power/fame vacuum of the charismatic (and very well portrayed by Whitaker!) dictator. It was a very good movie

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    Posted December 30, 2009

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    Posted March 27, 2009

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    Posted June 4, 2009

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    Posted October 10, 2008

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    Posted August 6, 2009

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