Mary Surratt is the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.
The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
In the early 1970s, Nicholas Garrigan, a young semi-idealistic Scottish doctor, comes to Uganda to assist in a rural hospital. Once there, he soon meets up with the new President, Idi Amin, who promises a golden age for the African nation. Garrigan hits it off immediately with the rabid Scotland fan, who soon offers him a senior position in the national health department and becomes one of Amin's closest advisers. However as the years pass, Garrigan cannot help but notice Amin's increasingly erratic behavior that grows beyond a legitimate fear of assassination into a murderous insanity that is driving Uganda into bloody ruin. Realizing his dire situation with the lunatic leader unwilling to let him go home, Garrigan must make some crucial decisions that could mean his death if the despot finds out. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director Kevin Macdonald and his producers met Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to get permission to film in Uganda. "He really responded to the idea that we wanted to make a film about Ugandan history in the same way that everybody we met responded," recalls Macdonald. "They wanted this story to be told. They didn't feel prejudiced against us because we were foreigners wanting to tell their story - they were very generous, and the president gave us carte blanche and even allowed us to film in the parliament building while parliament was in session. We also had the co-operation of the army and we were allowed to close down the main street in the city." See more »
(at around 1h 40 mins) The Southern Comfort bottle shown in the Duty Free shop in the airport is of the 21st century 70 proof blend; a bottle from this time period would have been 76 proof with a different label. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. A true tour de force by Forest Whitaker ... the best performance of the year so far! Somehow Mr. Whitaker captures the madness and charm of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Amin was one of the first political rock stars. He used the media to his advantage as his regime slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his countrymen.
Also impressive is James McAvoy ("Chronicles of Narnia") who plays the dramatized Nicholas Garrigan, a young doctor who sets out on an adventure to make a difference in a small country and ends up counseling one of the most powerful madmen in history. Scottish documentarian Kevin Macdonald directs the film with only a few lapses in directness, which serve this biopic very well. Watching Amin and the young doctor immerse themselves in the shower of power is both frightening and sickening. Macdonald captures this spirit very well thanks mostly to his willingness to let his two leads do their thing.
As Amin laughs and tells Garrigan that "You are my closest adviser", I couldn't help but compare to Kathy Bates telling James Caan (in "Misery") that "I'm your number one fan". The evil and insanity is simply chilling. Whitaker is just amazing as he flips the switch from media darling to cold blooded, ruthless murderer ... and then back again. Just a terrific performance and well worth the price of admission - maybe a couple of times! Good for a laugh is the most unique version of Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" that you have ever heard ... guaranteed! See this one for a bit of history and the site of a real monster, but also for one of the best film performances ever.
179 of 211 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?