After watching basically the same stump speech in both All the King’s Men and The Last King of Scotland, I’d have to say that if Sean Penn’s Willy Stark and Forest Whitaker’s Idi Amin appeared on the same ballot, my vote would go to Idi. That choice is likely to come up next year when the members of the Academy vote for Best Actor. Like the man he embodies, Whitaker’s performance bullies, charms, terrifies, and touches. It’s too much for Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a 20ish Scottish doctor who spins a globe to discover where he’ll try to make his fortune. His finger falls on Uganda, where he finds himself in a bush hospital battling intractable misery until Amin taps him to be his private physician. Lulled by cars, sex, and power, but mostly by Amin, he remains silent while 300,000 die. Director Kevin Macdonald takes liberties with Giles Foden’s fine novel, making it more Hollywood and less human. This Idi’s appeal prevails, but his evil is lacking.
On the Web
The Last King of Scotland's Web site: http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/thelastkingofscotland/