Plot: What’s it about?
Nicholas (James McAvoy) is a doctor who comes from a privileged background, a man who could live in the comfortable lap of luxury and have few worries in life. But Nicholas isn’t content to be a doctor to the wealthy and spend his nights in high class society, instead he wants to put his skills to better use. He decides to join up with some medical volunteers in Uganda, where he can use his medical abilities for a greater good. Soon after he arrives, the nation goes through some upheaval, as General Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) takes control of power with promises of a better life for his people. In a chance enouncter, Amin meets Nicholas and is impressed with him, so much so that he offers him the position of his personal physician. As time passes, Nicholas is witness to Amin’s tour de force of violence and bloodshed, even against his own people. As he watches, will he regret the decision he made to stand by Amin, or is he too taken in by Amin’s charismatic personality?
????This movie had instant appeal to me, as I have studied the life of Idi Amin, written many college papers about him and read countless books, articles, and interviews about the man. So I was interested in The Last King of Scotland from the start, especially when I learned that Amin would be played by Forest Whitaker. Whitaker delivers and then some in the role, even claiming the Best Actor statue for his effort. But despite his win and the marketing of the film that centers on him, his role is actually not that big, as far as screen time. The Last King of Scotland is about Amin, but more about how his presence impacts everything around him, even with him nowhere to be seen. So don’t expect a feature length tour de force performance, but when Whitaker is around, he is dynamic and really shines. As expected, the filmmakers tinker with history at times, but this is still a realistic look at Amin’s influence and it doesn’t need to much drama added in. This is a powerful movie that features a memorable performance, so if you’re in the mood for a good drama, The Last King of Scotland is worth a rental.
Video: How does it look?
The Last King of Scotland is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie has a gritty texture that is on the soft side at times, but this presentation captures the visuals as intended. So you might not be floored by pristine, sparkling images, but this looks great, nonetheless. The visuals are dark, but contrast holds up well and colors look natural throughout. A quick side-by-side comparison shows a good step up over the DVD in all aspects.
Audio: How does it sound?
This sounds a little better than the DVD, but this DTS HD 5.1 option doesn’t drive home the audio like I expected. No, your system won’t be pushed to the limits, but the rear channels see some nice use, so you’ll know where all the cash went with your speakers. The music is what presses the surrounds the most, but some subtle use is also evident, which enhances the film’s atmosphere. At times things pick up and the surrounds have to show some power, and in those times, the sound is terrific. The dialogue is sharp and never hard to understand, leaving me to score this one well. This disc also includes Spanish, French, and Portuguese language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A director’s commentary is up first, as Kevin MacDonald provides his comments on the production. As always with these solo participant sessions, there are some silence spaces and narration, but MacDonald also gives us some worthwhile moments. This could have been better with another person involved however, especially Forest Whitaker. Capturing Idi Amin runs about half an hour and combines production footage with documentary materials. The real life footage adds a lot to the movie’s impact, especially as it reminds the viewer how recently this all took place. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, additional cast interviews, and the film’s theatrical trailer.