‘The Last King of Scotland’ – Life under Idi Amin on Hulu

The Last King of Scotland (2006) views the real life reign of Idi Amin through the prism of a fictional character.

James McAvoy is the callow, brash young Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor in Uganda who falls under the spell of the charming yet monstrous dictator, but the film belongs to Forest Whitaker, whose fierce and ferocious performance as Amin earned him the well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor this year. Bigger than life, volatile, unstable, whipping from childlike generosity to ferocious vengeance to crippling paranoia in seconds, it’s the kind of role that invites accolades and Whitaker deserves them all as the mesmerizing dictator and despot who charmed the world’s press while unleashing a brutal reign of terror on his own people.

This is the first dramatic fiction from award-winning documentary director Kevin MacDonald. He fills the frame with vivid details of the era and effectively applying the handheld docu-style aesthetic to create an intimacy and immediacy. But he also creates a fascinating figure in (the entirely fictional) Garrigan, a weak, willfully oblivious bystander who plays the callow sidekick and embraces the decadence of his world without acknowledging Amin’s brutality or his own responsibility. He is one the least admirable heroes you’ll ever see.

Kerry Washington plays one of Amin’s wives, who Garrigan falls for against all consideration for her safety, and Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney, and David Oyelowo costar.

Whitaker also won awards from the BAFTAs, the National Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Circle, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, among many other awards and critics groups.

Rated R

Streams for a limited time on Hulu

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
The Last King of Scotland [Blu-ray]
The Last King of Scotland [DVD]

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The Blu-ray and DVD releases feature commentary, featurettes, and deleted and alternate scenes.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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