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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Movie Review: The Last King of Scotland

Went to a screening recently of The Last King of Scotland. For those who don't know, this is a British film, based on a book, and is a loose adaptation of true facts. In brief, it is about a Scottish guy who becomes personal physician to Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 1970s. Forest Whitaker stars as the infamous tyrannical Ugandan dictator.

The short of it? The movie was solid, though not great, but Forest Whitaker was awesome. He brought to life the complexity and humanity that writers Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock (screenplay), and Giles Foden (book) invested Amin with.

The slightly longer? The movie tells an amazing tale that sticks closely with the heart of the history, while taking some liberties to tell its tale. I think it is actually a good example of how close one needs to stick to one's source material when adapting (whether from a book, or from history, both of which apply here).

The script also featured an interesting blend of tones, which I think is a difficult, but important aspect of the film. There is a healthy dose of humor scattered throughout the film, but only in specific spots. I think it helps to humanize the Amin character (which is key to winning enough audience sympathy to get the message across). It also adds realism when there is some humor in a drama, or vice versa.

At the same time, I think the film suffered at times from a bit too much stretching of the truth. While the story itself is so unbelievable, that we must accept some other moments that will be difficult to believe, there are a few key scenes that go a bit too far. Perhaps they feel artificial due to a lack of sufficient set-up, and thus feel abrupt. But without giving plot points away, I'll just say that the story seems a bit too convenient at times.

Overall, I'd say the film is certainly worth watching. A very solid effort. And Whitaker's performance alone would make it worth it, but there is more here than just that. But I suggest you see it!

(Special thanks to Creative Screenwriting magazine for the screening!)

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Blogger scribosphere said...

Great review!

Welcome to the scribosphere, with this as your first post to enter. You've done a lot for it, and it expects you to continue with this blog and thoughts. The scribosphere that is.

Thank you.


11:16 PM  

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