The Last King of Scotland


When they broadcasted ‘The Last King of Scotland’ on local TV recently, I both watched it in real-time and recorded it simultaneously so that I could watch it again the next day.
I may even watch it for a third time next weekend.

Is it perhaps because both Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin and James McAvoy as Dr. Nicholas Garrigan both play their parts masterly?

Is it because I know I should’ve seen this 2006 movie ages ago when I first read the eulogizing reviews about it?

The Last King of Scotland received wide critical acclaim. Particular focus went to Whitaker, who received praise for his outstanding performance as Idi Amin. Among others, he won Best Actor at the Academy Awards, and the film was a financial success as well.

Or has it something to do with memories of an Israeli raid on Entebbe still lingering on in my brain?

Idi Amin Dada was the third President of Uganda, ruling from 1971 to 1979.  He died quite some years later, in 2003, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he had fled to after the uprising against his regime and after a short intermezzo in Libya in between.

As a youngster/teenager, when I first heard his name, I marvelled at it, considering the ‘Dada’ to be both funny and ominous. In my local dialect, ‘dada’ is what we say to one another when saying goodbye, especially when talking to young children.

The fun-making part quickly vanished as soon as more and more frequently news about extremely brutal atrocities, including the accusation of cannibalism by the ‘Butcher of Uganda’, came to the foreground.

The story as shown in the movie is fictional. It is based on a novel. In reality, there was no Dr. Nicholas Garrigan.

And yet all the elements are there to paint the picture, to revive the atmosphere of those days and to give a feel for the extreme uncertainty the president’s entourage and the country as a whole had to endure.
One minute the hero, a goner the next.

I was still contemplating the movie when I heard the current president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, had won a fifth term in office, further extending his thirty year rule.

BBC News: Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni wins fifth term

IMDB: The Last King of Scotland


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