The Last King of Scotland

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Drama
Year 2006
Duration 121 min
Rating 7.9 out of 10
Description: "Charming. Magnetic. Murderous."

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s
Comments: For those who were fooled by the theatrical trailer, the poster of the movie and the interviews of the crew, "The last king of Scotland" might be a huge disappointment : this is not a realistic African political movie, nor even a film about the General Idi Amin Dada, but only another mediocre thriller, who claims to have documentary virtues. Indeed, the movie begins like many others with this lying words : "This movie is based on real events" and the all movie is filmed like a documentary, with a realistic photography and omnipresent zooms. But style isn't all it takes to describe reality. By focusing its point of view on a fictional character who lives fictional adventures, the movie looses all its credibility.

Instead of presenting directly the Ugandan dictator, the movie is focused on a white doctor, who's eyes are the point of view on the story and of the events the movie tells. This artifice allows the common spectator to enter the movie, through a character with whom he can identify himself. This could have been alright if the character was credible enough to carry the real events the movie wants to talk about and if he was introduced as a necessary artifice to have a better understanding of the situation. But it's not how Kevin MacDonald shows us his character : this fictional character is presented like a real one, whereas his story uses all sort of ridiculous "lieux communs", incoherences, and narrative facilities that contradict the realistic claims of the movie, fictionalize characters that have really existed, and make unreal situations that actually occurred (!). The love story between the doctor Nicholas Garrigan and Amin's wife is for instance a major flaw from a realistic point of view, even if it serves some narrative purposes, and the end of the movie is rather silly and really hard to believe when you consider the situation. But the worst consequence of this hypocritical use of fiction is that the movie fails to show the real violence and horror of the country, which always stays unseen and hidden.

At the end, you doubt everything you saw in this very conventional movie, witch fails to archive its documentary and pedagogical goals. I'd rather watch an intelligent adventure movie like "Blood Diamond", than this kind of lying political thriller, that makes me constantly doubt of the truth of what it shows.