You must see The Last King of Scotland
If you haven’t, stop reading this now and go, go and find a way to see it!
I knew when I heard about the subject matter that this was a film I absolutely could not miss – this was before Oscar nominations and wins and without any expectation that it would be good. I wanted to see a film about that part of Uganda’s history mostly because of it concerned a piece of family history. Mum’s Mama was one of the many Indians who fled Amin’s regime. The bangles that she wears (and has never taken off) are a gift from her Mama who smuggled them out of Uganda along with the rest of his family fortune that he had converted into gold jewellery – he is very, very smart and very, very lucky. So with that morbid fascination, I went to see it …
It’s been almost 24 hours since the film and I am still shaking.
The film is so brilliant that I don’t know where to begin – do start with the script? The editing? Cinematography? Acting? Or should I even separate each element as they are so essential to each other? The acting, without a doubt, was fantastic – not just Forest Whitaker but also James McAvoy, David Oyelowo and Gillian Anderson, not one performance was lacking.
The script was, oh I don’t even know how to convey it’s brilliance. The way that the words worked, the story that the editing told, the atmosphere created by the cinematography – I couldn’t shake Webster’s Doctor Faustus from my mind (with Garrigan as Faustus and Amin as Mephostophilis/Devil) as I watched this film. All elements of production created the most beautiful AV symphony, so intelligent and clever that I can’t even articulate how I feel about this film, or maybe I can … If Infernal Affairs has taught me how to write then The Last King of Scotland has taught me how to write for film.
But why am I shaking? Am I shaking because it’s so close to home? Or am I shaking because as I type this Robert Mugabe is on the television holding a press conference telling the West to go hang after his police forces brutally beat and arrested 50 leaders of the opposition?