WagnerBlog

The World of Composer Richard Wagner and his operas. www.wagneroperas.com with frequent forays into the world of art, culture, and film.

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Vincent Vargas is a foreign language teacher at a private school in New York City. He runs websites dedicated to Casablanca (www.vincasa.com) and Richard Wagner (www.wagneroperas.com).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Last King of Scotland

I finally got around to watching Kevin MacDonald's The Last King of Scotland, the powerful film about the relationship between Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan. The film offers a powerhouse performance by Forest Whitaker as the Ugandan dictator, and James McAvoy as the young doctor who befriends the dictator. Recognizing that the young doctor is an extremely capable physician, Amin handpicks him to be his personal doctor. The film details Amin's descent into madness as he orders the death of 300,000 of his countrymen in one of the bloodiest reigns of terror in history. For Dr. Garrigan, it was supposed to be a wild adventure in a far-off country, but when the naive young doctor arrives in 1970’s Uganda hoping for fun, sun and the chance to lend a helping hand, he finds himself instead on a shocking ride into the darkest realm of the human heart.

It is one of the most enjoyable films that I have seen this year and, historically, Hollywood has been very quick to give its Academy Award to an actor who offers an outsized performance. Therefore, I definitely see an Oscar in Forest Whitaker's future. He gives a memorable portrayal of the feared dictator in a performance that combines sudden outbursts and quiet, tender moments: both extremes being equally memorable and very scary, as Whitaker crafts a performance that one does not easily forget.

I hope you get an opportunity to see this film either before or after Forest Whitaker picks up his Academy Award for Best Actor.

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