Friday, May 18, 2007

The Last King of Uganda!!!

Idi Amin has always been the sinister one in our mindset, the cannibal & the tyrant! So as the show started, I geared up for nothing but loads & loads of gore apart from a good dose of histrionics from Whitaker. But the film turned out to be surprisingly sober(to a certain degree of disappointment for a sadist like me) & yet powerful!
The movie starts in Scotland where Dr Nicholas Garrigan(James McAvoy) is planning a stint in some third world country after finishing his studies. He decides to select a place randomly & stumbles on Uganda.
So our Doctor reaches Uganda & starts working in remote place among the poor natives along with some other European doctors. In the meantime Amin(Forest Whitaker) seizes power in Uganda through a coup. He incidentally meets Nicholas as he met with an accident & sought for some medical assistance. He was impressed by the young doctor & made him his personal physician. So thus begins an unlikely friendship.
Amin wins over the foreign press with his sense of humour but tries hard to keep the real scene behind the scene. His jovial nature makes him a charismatic despot. So initially Nicholas refuses to hear anything about him & remains his most trusted doctor cum advisor. But as the time goes by, like most other dictators Amin also takes the path of ruthlessness to keep his reigns going. He starts throwing tantrum at everyone including Nicholas & he’s no more the jocund, friendly soul. In the meantime Nicholas develops a close relationship with one of Amin’s wives which worsens his situation further. He then also learns about the atrocities committed by Amin’s forces & soon he starts yearning to leave Uganda. So the story leads towards a bloody conclusion which I won’t disclose for the future viewers.
Now coming to various aspects of the film, it’s the two actors who stand out & overshadow everything else. I’ve always liked Whitaker in those character roles but for the first time he gets to play the lead & doesn’t disappoint at all. He looks, speaks & acts like true dictator should & yes he deserved the Oscar. McAvoy on the other hand, also continues his good work after Narnia. I felt that he also deserved at least a nomination. He’ll be an actor to watch out for in the future.
Here, one thing strikes my mind, the director Kevin Macdonald hasn’t gone overboard to show the atrocities of Amin or his alleged cannibalism while adapting Giles Foden’s novel. He’s finished off those portions in quick unrecognisable flashes. This is what makes the film more watchable for general viewers though it was a bit disappointing for darker minds like me. Anyway, to sum up, it feels like laking the punch at a few instances but is definitely watchable due to exceptional performances.

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