Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.
This film has a documentary feel to it. It is really very realistic, even if upon reading background info that the Dr. Garrigan character is fictional. Even though granted that the Idi Amin regime was compressed into a coherent Hollywood storyline, it does not feel contrived. The final sequence of events at the Entebbe Airport was very suspenseful indeed.
Idi Amin was not really the lead character in this movie. It is actually Dr. Nicholas Garrigan. Being a physician, I could not help but be able to identify with his situation and dilemmas. Would you accept to be the personal physician of a country's president upon his personal request? It seems to be an offer and career opportunity you could not refuse.
There is sex and violence in this movie. I could not agree though with Dr. Garrigan's rashness regarding his love affairs, particularly his morals of hooking up with wives of his supposed friends. But considering that this movie is set in the 1970s, that was a totally different world pre-HIV. The violence, what can I say? After watching one violent film after the other, you get sort of anesthetized already. That said, the scene with hooks at the airport was still something else! The acting is very good. Forest Whitaker has channeled the Idi Amin persona very effectively. I could feel the scary and suffocating craziness whenever he is on screen. There's something about this performance being based on a real character though. I think it would be harder to essay a totally fictional character since you have to create this new character from scratch. And I feel James McAvoy (who was actually Mr. Tumnus in "Narnia"!) did so very well as Dr. Garrigan. You dislike him, yet you can empathize the stickiness of his situation.
Before I end this review, I have to mention that I was very happy to see the luminous Ms. Gillian Anderson again. I totally did not know she was in this film and it was a welcome surprise. She handled her few scenes as the wife of a volunteer doctor very well indeed. I hope she gets meatier movie roles in the future.
- Feb 24, 2007