Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Last King of Scotland (4½ Stars)

This could be considered the greatest film of Forest Whitaker's career. He won the Academy Award for best actor in 2007, rightfully so. Why was it that a few years later people were wailing about the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations and awards? Black actors will win awards when they're the best, and in this case Forest Whitaker really was the best.

It's an amazing film, a perfect mix of fact and fiction. What I mean is that the film portrays real events, from Idi Amin's rise to power to the hostage crisis at Entebbe, in which Palestinian and German terrorists united to kill Jews on Ugandan soil. It writes a fictional character, Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, into the events, portraying him as Idi Amin's closest personal adviser.

Idi Amin was a complicated man. In my opinion he wasn't a bad man, unlike Robert Mugabe, who merely wanted to become the leader in order to exploit his people and make himself rich. Idi Amin had honest intentions to help his people and make Uganda a great nation. He failed because of his paranoia. He saw potential enemies everywhere and reacted immediately, executing them without attempting to find out whether they really were against him. He was also a hypochondriac. He claimed to have been told the day of his death, but whenever he suffered the slightest ailment he screamed that he was about to die. Forest Whitaker skilfully puts us into the mindset of this troubled dictator.

The film wasn't as popular with the public as it was with critics. It made a profit at the box office, but only because the film's budget was so low. It didn't even make it into the year's top 100 films. I just noticed that even though the film is still available in England, it's now out of print in America. Maybe it's too political for American audiences? Or maybe Americans just don't know and don't care where Uganda is.

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