The Last King of Scotland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last King of Scotland Reviews

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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 24, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
February 3, 2007
Having cut his teeth on documentaries, Kevin Macdonald acts as if a shaky-cam aesthetic alone is enough to fuel dramatic tension.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/6
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
November 29, 2006
Mr. Whitaker and Mr. McAvoy head a first-rate cast that helps The Last King of Scotland to illuminate one of the many dark chapters in recent African history.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 3, 2006
If this genius turn by Whitaker (he starred in Bird and The Crying Game) doesn't earn an Oscar nomination, then those little statues will lose what little meaning they have.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
October 19, 2006
Whitaker's dedicated, nuanced performance is excellent and lifts the film from some unsteady early moments.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 14, 2006
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
October 13, 2006
See the movie for Whitaker alone: He's possessed by evil and possesses it wholly, rendering the film (and everyone in it) his plaything.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
October 13, 2006
A good movie elevated by Whitaker's pitch-perfect performance.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 12, 2006
Through its very specific story, the movie illustrates how absolute power can corrupt those who wield it, resulting in a man who, once ensconced as a nation's leader, uses all his available resources to ensure his own survival.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
October 12, 2006
Rare is the actor who can accomplish an instant transformation from beast to buddy, but Whitaker makes it look easy.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 12, 2006
This is the sort of movie worth seeing for the performances alone.
| Original Score: B+
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
October 6, 2006
As Amin, the actor holds every scene he's in with a kind of explosive gravity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 6, 2006
Macdonald has delivered a masterful tragedy, told in his characters' wary eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
October 6, 2006
At its heart of darkness, the film is about the lure of power. It's a condemnation of all the dictators' men over all time.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
October 6, 2006
A compelling, though somewhat problematic, story set deep inside Idi Amin's brutal dictatorship in Uganda.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 6, 2006
Macdonald knows how to hold our interest, and he gives his movie a dizzying sense of momentum, not unlike the mad whirl that surrounds Amin.
| Original Score: B
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
October 6, 2006
By the end of this remarkable, uneven film, we believe that through Whitaker we have come to understand the very nature of power and corruption.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Bill Zwecker
Chicago Sun-Times
October 6, 2006
This is director Kevin MacDonald's first feature film, yet along with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, he has produced a motion picture that will become an instant political classic.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 6, 2006
Forest Whitaker gives a titanic performance as the general ... and as he seduces the naive young man into his murderous regime, director Kevin Macdonald unpacks the ignorance and arrogance that still characterize the West's attitude toward Africa.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 5, 2006
A shrewd commentary on misguided Western excursions into the 'dark continent.'
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
October 5, 2006
The movie uses a fictional device to get up close and personal, but I'm not sure the fictional device works.
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 5, 2006
Great as Whitaker is in this juicy slab of Oscar bait, Macdonald's movie doesn't have much to offer beyond a pair of stunning performances, propulsive editing, fantastic scenery and the heartbeat rhythms of African music.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 5, 2006
Whitaker is on fire, and as long as he's onscreen, King keeps you riveted.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 5, 2006
A spellbinding safari into the mind of His Excellency the madman.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 5, 2006
Whitaker doesn't so much play the Ugandan president and charismatic monster, deposed in 1979 and responsible for an estimated 300,000 deaths, as he lights a slow fuse on a highly complex bomb.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
October 2, 2006
Forest Whitaker has been one of our most interesting actors for 20 years, and he gives the performance of a lifetime in The Last King of Scotland.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 29, 2006
The film as a whole measures up to Forest Whitaker's performance. That's high praise indeed.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
September 29, 2006
Whitaker's performance is absolutely spellbinding -- and should land him his first Oscar nomination.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
September 29, 2006
There must come a reckoning, and in The Last King Of Scotland, the loss of innocence consumes the whole final hour, during which time Whitaker appears less often, his screen time stolen by an increasingly weepy McAvoy.
| Original Score: B-
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 28, 2006
Whitaker's performance dispels most of one's objections. He is terrifying in a way that we recognize not from old movies but from life.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
September 28, 2006
The colonialist spirit is alive and well in The Last King of Scotland, a return to the pandering celluloid depictions of African turmoil that insist on putting a white face on black suffering.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Ella Taylor
Village Voice
September 28, 2006
An adequate thriller redeemed by Forest Whitaker's sensational turn as Idi Amin.
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Dana Stevens
Slate
September 28, 2006
The Last King of Scotland is wrenching to sit through, but in the end, it doesn't leave you with quite enough to think about.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
September 27, 2006
Forest Whitaker shatters abstraction and replaces it with flesh, blood and unspeakable charm.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 27, 2006
Whitaker is formidably compelling as a man whose quixotic temperament and larger-than-life persona both fascinate and repel.
| Original Score: 3/4
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David Ansen
Newsweek
September 27, 2006
Forest Whitaker, uncorking the power that he usually holds in check, gives a chilling, bravura performance as Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
September 27, 2006
The movie's real power, and true greatness, comes from Whitaker. Whether or not it's forgotten at awards season, it's guaranteed to be remembered for a long time to come.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
September 27, 2006
The Last King of Scotland is a parable shocking in its truth, jolting in its lack of sentimentality, Shakespearean in its vision of the doctor's catastrophic flaw.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
September 27, 2006
[Director Kevin Macdonald] captures the energy and exuberance of a young nation in the throes of optimism and works it into a foreboding frenzy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
September 27, 2006
This is not hyperbole. This is how good Whitaker is: He actually makes you feel sorry for Idi Amin.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
September 27, 2006
A thunderous performance by Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin informs and ignites The Last King of Scotland so far beyond its limitations as both a biopic and a political thriller that he becomes the movie itself.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 27, 2006
I can't think of a better actor to toggle between media-savvy jester and stone-cold killer than Forest Whitaker, who, even dressed in a kilt, conveys serious menace along with mania.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
September 26, 2006
Kevin Macdonald's queasily enjoyable fiction film creates a portrait of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin from inside the palace walls.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 26, 2006
The Last King of Scotland isn't for everyone, but for those who can stomach its brutality, it offers a compelling look into how such a popular leader became known as one of Africa's most vicious dictators of the 1970s.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 25, 2006
The film is phenomenally well directed by Kevin Macdonald and edited by Justine Wright to bring out every bit of scary volatility in the most casual interactions.
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David Denby
New Yorker
September 25, 2006
Whitaker has done some surpassingly gentle and rueful work in the past, but for this role he has transformed himself -- he's either sprawled in a stupor or alarmingly mobile, throwing his big body around the room as if it weighed nothing.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 23, 2006
Starts well, but trips over preposterous plot developments as it pushes toward its climax.
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Howie Movshovitz
Hollywood Reporter
September 4, 2006
An extraordinary piece about naivete caught up in terrible events.