adrian is rad


Last King of Scotland

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:24 pm

Last night, Sulu and I saw the Last King of Scotland.

It’s the story of a Scottish doctor who goes to Uganda in the early 70s to escape his controlling father and to have a fun. He gets into the good graces of Idi Amin shortly after the coup that puts Amin in power and becomes his personal doctor.

The doctor is fictitious (though apparently based in part on Bob Astles) but Amin was unfortunately very real. As a story, it’s enthralling and gripping. As a historical perspective on Amin, it makes me want to learn more about Amin’s life and rule. He was a ruthless man.

That the doctor being taken in Amin’s character is a testament to the really impressive acting from Forest Whitaker, a role for which he won an Oscar. He completely takes on this role and it’s tough to see him as anything but Amin in the movie.

It’s really good overall. There is one obvious complaint, though. As some reviews have noted, this story is centered on a European and all of the bad that comes to him—it’s a human story, after all— but it obscures one’s view of what really was happening: hundreds of thousands of Ugandans dying. I guess you could explain that away, saying that it’s more a story of how reasonable people can be taken in by unreasonable but charming dictators. I’d recommend this, though, even if it’s just to see Whitaker’s performance.

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