Netflux “The Last King of Scotland”

True stories never translate that well onto film.  There’s always the sense that nothing fantastic, nothing truly mythic can happen, since the stories are, by their nature, fairly mundane.  This film definitely pushes the boundaries of that observation.  Its narrative surprises (and horrifies) the viewer with powerful, and, if true, unbelievable events.

The movie, notwithstanding its title, is about Idi Amin, the African leader who ended up murdering 300,000 of his own people, and his personal doctor, a young Scot who ended up in Uganda looking for adventure.  Forest Whitaker inhabits the role of Amin flawlessly, as he so often does.  I have never understood how a charismatic leader could be so charming, and yet so evil, until now.

With such heavy subject matter, the movie starts out rather light, as the young Scot (played by James MacAvoy, who I only know from the rumor that he might play Scotty in the new Star Trek) has the normal sorts of adventures a young man volunteering as a doctor in a foreign country has.  Really, this is the first of three stages in the film: the happy life of a young man, the whirlwind of being swept up in power and prestige, and finally the tragedy of being forced to remain in the inner circle of a madman.

I’d say this film is worth watching, if you are a fan of history at all, and especially to marvel at Forest Whitaker’s performance.  As a history buff myself, I usually end up on (gasp) Wikipedia, trying to learn more about what went on during these time periods.  Hopefully, however, I’ll start watching some lighter material.  Maybe I will do a comedy next.

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