Tuesday, October 23, 2007

75. "The Last King of Scotland" - Giles Foden

Journalist Giles Foden, while not old enough to remember this conflict, writes about the rise of Ugandan president Idi Amin, and his reign of terror from 1971-1979.

A fictional Scottish doctor serving in the poorest regions of Uganda is chosen to serve as Amin's personal doctor. Garrigan's fascination overwhelms his repulsion of the dictator, and he finds himself slowly sucked into the world of manic madness.

Authentic historical events support the fictional memoir, which I typically love and find essential to the depth of the story. However, who is Garrigan? We are reading his faux memoirs, but I never find myself caring about his safety or his sanity. I would not go so far as to say he is a dislikable character, but worse, he is bland. It's like when the server asks if you want parmesan on that. Meh. Whatever.

Add a romance that seems based on boredom, yet influences Garrigan's choices. 2+2=5. There are some elementary problems with this storytelling. Perhaps a visit to characterization 101.

Is the movie better? I've followed my edict of book before flick, so I haven't seen it yet.

1.75 out of 5.0 Throw me to the floors.

1 comment:

Shepcat said...

Unless your opinion of the story is already colored by your impressions of the book, I think you'll enjoy the film adaptation a great deal more. For my money, Forest Whitaker's chillingly charismatic portrayal of Amin ended all Oscar speculation the moment I saw him (much as Philip Seymour Hoffman did as Capote the year before), and James McAvoy is also excellent as Garrigan.