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The Last King of Scotland (2006)

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Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.

Director:

Kevin Macdonald

Writers:

Peter Morgan (screenplay), Jeremy Brock (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,140 ( 1,300)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 48 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Idi Amin
James McAvoy ... Dr. Nicholas Garrigan
Kerry Washington ... Kay Amin
Gillian Anderson ... Sarah Merrit
Simon McBurney ... Stone
David Oyelowo ... Dr. Junju
Stephen Rwangyezi Stephen Rwangyezi ... Jonah Wasswa
Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga ... Masanga (as Abby Mukiibi)
Adam Kotz Adam Kotz ... Dr. Merrit
Sam Okelo Sam Okelo ... Bonny
Sarah Nagayi Sarah Nagayi ... Tolu
Chris Wilson Chris Wilson ... Perkins
Dick Stockley Dick Stockley ... Times Journalist (as Dr. Dick Stockley)
Barbara Rafferty Barbara Rafferty ... Mrs. Garrigan
David Ashton David Ashton ... Dr. Garrigan - Senior
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Charming. Magnetic. Murderous.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence and gruesome images, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English | French | German | Swahili

Release Date:

19 January 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El último rey de Escocia See more »

Filming Locations:

Kampala, Uganda See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$142,899, 1 October 2006

Gross USA:

$17,606,684

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,363,516
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the DVD director's commentary, Kevin Macdonald states that during filming of Idi Amin's visit to the village near the mission, many of the local extras thought it was the real Idi Amin on stage giving speeches. See more »

Goofs

Large, glass-fronted office buildings are visible in the background of some Kampala street scenes. They didn't exist in the 1970s, when the film was set. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Nicholas Garrigan: Come on! Are youse ready?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Oscars (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Fever
Performed by Jingo
Written by I. Jingo
Published by Afro Rock Music
Licensed courtesy of Kona Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The use of Garrigan is a strength and weakness but it is a good film thanks mainly to a terrific turn from Whitaker
17 February 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The newly qualified Dr Nicholas Garrigan travels to Uganda to take up a post with a village mission. He arrives just after a coup puts Idi Amin in power of the country. During a visit by Amim to the village, Garrigan captures the President's attention by tending to a small injury to his hand and showing himself decisive and strong-willed. It is not long before the young Garrigan finds himself appointed as physician to the President and ensconced as one of his "closest advisors". However the initial charm shown by Amin gives way to a darker violent streak as Garrigan finds the superficial stability of the country and its leader is nothing of the sort.

Famous now for the performance that will deservedly win an Oscar in a few weeks time, this film actually doesn't have Amin as the "main" character despite him being the draw and the title character. Instead we actually spend a lot of time with Garrigan, his experiences and his problems. Of course I understand why this was the way because Garrigan is out narrative device – a composite character who acts as our way into the inner circle of Amin and allows the audience to experience him as outsiders as well. This works well in doing this but it does also introduce problems, or at least one problem. This is the fact that, as the story goes on, we find ourselves more and more focused on Garrigan (who doesn't actually exist) rather than Amin or Uganda (who did and does exist respectively). I found this a bit irritating as it got worse because I had come to the film for Amin – as, I suspect, many will have done.

Even with this though the film still works well and makes for an engaging piece. Macdonald's direction is good and his moving camera does give it the air of a documentary while still very much being a drama. Of course the thing that makes the film work is the central performance from Whitaker. The character of Amin allows him to play to his strengths and he delivers a convincingly unhinged turn, constantly menacing but also managing to have a child-like sense of fun at times and a terrifying tendency towards ruthlessness and violence. I have said before, he was brilliant in The Shield (making the whole season his own) and he is equally brilliant here. Alongside this it is no surprise that McAvoy is a bit weak by comparison. His character is not so convincing (a side effect of being a composite) and some of the narrative turns ask a lot of him – he is still good and it is not his fault that he is in Whitaker's shadow. Washington has a small role but was pretty good in it even if her presence made me wonder why they felt they had to cast an American actress, likewise Anderson but I assume that they helped get funding so fair enough. McBurney is a bit too slimy and sinister and I wasn't sure what the film was trying to say. Audiences may also recognise Oyelowo from his recent high-profile roles in HBO's Five Days and BBC's controversial Shoot The Messenger.

Overall then not a perfect film but a pretty good one. The use of Garrigan is good at getting us into the story but it is a weakness that we stick with him as the focus. The performances are roundly good but of course it is another terrific turn from Whitaker that makes every scene he is in worth seeing.


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