The Last King of Scotland

Rated 4.0

A Scottish doctor in Uganda (James McAvoy) comes to the attention of the country’s new president-by-coup, Idi Amin Dada (Forest Whitaker); before long, the doctor is ensconced as Amin’s personal physician, with a ringside seat for Uganda’s descent into the hell of Amin’s brutal, bloody reign. The script by Jeremy Brock, Peter Morgan and Joe Penhall (from Giles Foden’s novel) is an intriguing hybrid of Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and it’s riveting—at least until the last act, when things take an implausible turn. The movie’s mainspring is Whitaker’s volcanic performance—his Amin is charming, disarming and almost unspeakably evil—but other actors shine as well, especially Simon McBurney as a British diplomat who’s more savvy than he seems.