so, the Last King of Scotland [link to IMDB page]. watched this over the weekend. i will confess, straight off, that i didn’t recognize Gillian Anderson AT ALL. unimportant, but it must be said.
interesting film, really. i must also say that i don’t really know much about the actual historical fact of this period, nor of Idi Amin, except for a general idea that he was a Bad Man, absorbed gently over time and reinforced by the fact that a friend of mine, Ugandan by birth and passport, relocated to Kenya – i believe in large part due to Amin. feel free to correct me, FXK.
Forrest Whitaker did a great job, i thought. i’m not sure if it’s what i envision as an Oscar performance, on the one hand; but on the other, having finally seen it, i don’t feel it wasn’t deserved. (i thought Leo DiCaprio was really tremendous in The Departed, but that is another post i guess). this could be in part, my lack of background – i did find him tremendously believeable, and wonderfully sociopathic in a Tony Soprano way, which is a huge compliment; i find most of what goes on during that show abhorrent and yet i find Tony strangely compelling and oddly sympathetic at times. in any case, Whitaker was a good example of playing someone who’s been made a caricature, and like every one of us, wasn’t.
James McEvoy, also – what a transition from Mr. Tumnus, the last role I had seen him in (to be fair, quite a bit of time shirtless in each). i thought he was particularly good at treading the line between conceited, self-absorbed, age-group typical, White-Man-in-Africa; and someone with some awareness of things outside himself. i realize he was totally fictional and an amalgam. and, OK, fine! i wouldn’t say he’s my usual type (see, my movie boyfriends, 1, and 2 . there are more, depending on the role, but those two are my abiding joys at the moment) but he was strangely attractive.
i thought it was interesting how all the women in the story seemed largely incidental, in that they were necessary to the plot and clearly to the historical events (i do believe Kay cheated, though the circumstances were somewhat different, according to the supplemental materials on the disc) – but what else might be fitting in a story about a young man finding himself, simultaneously rejecting and seeking a father figure, about an older man looking for adulation, and establishing his authority in a distinctly paternal way, though twistedly so. really, when considered in just those terms, not that different than numerous other films – i am thinking of another recently watched movie, The Good Shepherd. is it the militarism? something cultural? just the father/son dynamic?
it gave me a tremendous feeling of place, which i really love in a film, and especially when i have been there, or somewhere near there. other than that, obviously, meaningful story, beautiful scenery – how i long to go back to Africa, i ate some really unsatisfying mango while watching the film and it just hammered it home even more – so here’s my question, to my readers, all one or two of you. for those who watched Blood Diamond, admittedly a fiction piece, but also a ‘beauty-and-tragedy-in-Africa-wake-up-West’ sort of film, to speak extremely broadly; and/or The Constant Gardener, another tremendous film generally in this category, how did you think they compared, if at all?
I have some thoughts, but they’re still simmering, and furthermore, i’ve yammered on long enough!
rating: three and a half Ugandan pineapples, out of a possible five
[please note, the Ugandan pineapple i have had was LIFE CHANGING, and i am not being facetious.]