Author Topic: Oscar Buzz for Whitaker's 'King' Performance  (Read 1416 times)

Offline KamiKaZee

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Oscar Buzz for Whitaker's 'King' Performance
« on: September 30, 2006, 04:09:28 pm »
Oscar Buzz for Whitaker's 'King' Performance
By Claudia Puig
USA Today

(Sept. 27) -- In a fall film season filled with pretenders and non-starters, The Last King of Scotland features the first performance worthy of a best-actor Oscar nomination. Forest Whitaker  is astoundingly multifaceted and convincing as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. In the performance of his career, he fully inhabits the part of the barbaric and charismatic ruler.

The fictional story unfolds against the real events of Amin's rise to power in the 1970s, when he was responsible for butchering 300,000 Ugandans.

The story, based on Giles Foden's novel, centers on Nicholas Garrigan, a young doctor from Scotland (James McAvoy, The Chronicles of Narnia) who moves to Africa not only out of a do-gooder's desire to help those less fortunate, but also from an impetuous need to escape his father's stifling family practice.

He arrives in a small Ugandan village just after Amin has taken over. The free-spirited Garrigan romances the social-worker wife (Gillian Anderson) of the doctor he works with, following a one-night stand with a woman he met on the bus on his arrival. But he does have a real, if callow, sense of dedication and initially is swayed by Amin's rabble-rousing appeal and promises of nationwide betterment.

Amin is drawn to Garrigan for his bold honesty as well as by his nationality: The Ugandan leader is fascinated with all things Scottish. Garrigan becomes Amin's personal physician, lured by the leader's opulent lifestyle and the promises of running a clinic. Once he takes the job and observes how Amin is fueled by paranoia and brutality, he realizes belatedly what kind of monster he has allied himself with.

McAvoy does a fine job portraying Garrigan as morally complicit in the atrocities committed by Amin's regime. In his naiveté, he is easily flattered, though his actions often strain credulity, such as his risky seduction of one of Amin's wives (Kerry Washington ). As a close adviser and physician for one of the most volatile and savage world leaders, why would he risk his life and hers to launch an affair?

The film is beautifully shot, evoking the rhythms of life in Africa (aided by a wonderful soundtrack). Director Kevin Macdonald, a documentary filmmaker, gives it a gritty, realistic look. Scenes of torture and its aftermath are excruciatingly hard to watch. Structurally, the film unravels somewhat leading up to its climax.

But none of that deters from the power and majesty of Whitaker's performance as one of history's most vicious megalomaniacs. Whitaker is formidably compelling as a man whose quixotic temperament and larger-than-life persona both fascinate and repel.

(Rated R for strong violence and gruesome images, sexual content and language. Running time: 2 hours. Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.) 
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Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Oscar Buzz for Whitaker's 'King' Performance
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2006, 10:06:28 am »
interesting that black actors are getting Oscar-buzz for African subject matter (like Don Cheadle with Hotel Rwanda).. I hope the trend continues..
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