Smokin Aces

Starring: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson, David Oyelowo
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald.
Running Time: 123 mins.
Rated: Rated MA15+.
The Last King of Scotland is a superbly acted political drama that combines fact and fiction in a unique and fascinating way. Idi Amin Dada ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979, and like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and more recently Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin's name is associated with unspeakable atrocities and a shameful abuse of power.

After World War 2, it was fashionable amongst historians and political scientists to ponder psycho-political reasons for the behaviour of such men, but the nineteenth century German sociologist Max Weber approached the problem in another way. He believed that certain leaders inspire devotion in their followers through charisma - a mysterious, almost magical quality that allows them to exert great power over people. It is this approach to the Ugandan dictator that underlies Kevin Macdonald's oddly titled The Last King of Scotland.

Based on Giles Foden's 1998 novel of the same name, James McAvoy (Wimbledon, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) plays Nicholas Garrigan, a young Scottish doctor, newly graduated from medical school in Edinburgh, who escapes from his Presbyterian upbringing by working as a doctor in a remote area of Uganda.

Nicholas arrives in Uganda at a climactic moment in Uganda's history, in the middle of the 1971 coup that sees Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker, Bird, The Crying Game, Ghost Dog), the former Deputy Commander of Uganda's armed forces, wrest control from Milton Obote, who led Uganda to independence from Britain in 1962 but later overthrew his cabinet. Nicholas is na

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