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 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century".
Jean François Heckel,
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
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)
With "The Last King of Scotland," Kevin MacDonald has created a bracing, exciting and totally satisfying thriller.
Forest Whitaker gives a titanic performance as Idi Amin, Ugandan dictator who rose to power in the 1970s. James McAvoy plays Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish physician who travels to Uganda for the adventure and wins Amin's affections, becoming his personal doctor. Garrigan enters into a moral crisis as he begins to realize the kind of man Amin is, and begins to fear for his own life as events spiral more and more out of his control.
Whitaker seizes the chance to play this larger than life character and runs with it -- I've never seen Whitaker give so convincing and transforming a performance. However, as good as he is, McAvoy impressed me more. His performance as Garrigan is not as showy, but it's much more textured and subtle, and his character has the bigger arc from start to finish. Gillian Anderson also does terrific work in a small role as a fellow doctor, who understands things about Amin and the African culture that Garrigan does not.
Unlike other recent thrillers set in African nations ("The Constant Gardener," "Hotel Rwanda"), "The Last King of Scotland" is not greatly concerned with the geo-political implications of Amin's reign. The atrocities he committed against Ugandans are given only the barest of mentions, and the film sticks almost exclusively to Garrigan and the danger he himself faces. Some may think the film is irresponsible for this reason -- that the plight of one man pales in comparison to the plight of thousands, and I can see where a criticism like that is justified. But the movie packs a powerful wallop regardless, and complaints like this seem like quibbles when up against such an entertaining movie.
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