Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    Of course no Western director can make a movie about Africa without being accused of colonialism himself, and some critics have faulted The Last King of Scotland for focusing on its white hero as black corpses pile up around him. But although the movie takes place on an international political stage, it's still a drama of individual allegiance.
  2. Unlike Sean Penn's demagogue in "All the King's Men," you're able to forget that Whitaker is acting. He embodies the role. When clips of the real Amin are shown at the end, it's almost shocking to realize the extent to which Whitaker has become him.
  3. 91
    Jumping off from the brilliant novel by Giles Foden and changing a key character entirely, it dramatizes and wrings humor from the way a white Western renegade can view a self-made Third World despot like Amin as a superman blowing fresh air into a fetid atmosphere.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Forest Whitaker, uncorking the power that he usually holds in check, gives a chilling, bravura performance as Ugandan tyrant Idi Amin, whose bloody regime slaughtered more than 300,000 people. This intelligent, sometimes gruesome thriller is based on a novel by Giles Foden.
  6. 88
    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.
  7. Drawing on a documentary visual style he deftly employed in "One Day in September" and "Touching the Void," director Kevin Macdonald uses McAvoy's boyishness to treat Garrigan's apolitical foolishness as yet another damn mess in one African country's hell.
  8. Whitaker is terrifying in a way that we recognize not from old movies but from life.
  9. The movie is an extraordinary personal adventure that views everything through the eyes of its hero as it carries him from one apocalyptic situation to another.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 58
  2. Negative: 2 out of 58
  1. EverrettU
    May 30, 2009
    Highly rewarding drama with terrific performances.
  2. StephanieS.
    Mar 19, 2007
    While Idi Amen degraded to the status of Dictator and maniacal murderer, this movie did little to establish the foundation for his rise to While Idi Amen degraded to the status of Dictator and maniacal murderer, this movie did little to establish the foundation for his rise to power. Many historically infamous individuals begin humbly and rise to rule, based upon their accurate sense of what their people desire. Idi Amen was such a person. He was a 9-time heavyweight boxing champion and sargeant in the British military, who won the support and sponsorship of the British leadership. Being an African, one can easily conclude that this support was based, to some degree, on an enormous charisma and aptitude. While his political career was rife with abuse and tyrrany, it would have been appropriate to show some of the character he had to exhibit in order to command such broad based support, both from his own people, as well as the British government. Instead, the movie brings us into the latter years of an administration and personality gone off track and tending towards the manic. This may well be true, but no dictator has ruled that has not first been given permission. In addition, the rise of the young Scottish docctor seems utterly inappropriate, given Idi Amen's proven ability to win the favor of nations and people. A person of his considerable and terrible ability would not have been as easily trusting as the Idi Amen characterized in the film. Quite honestly, he had too much personal capital at stake to entrust it to someone with so little wit or wisdom. It is believed his true mentor was a member of the British Secret Service...this makes sense. Finally, the films portrayal of the African woman was utterly disgusting. I absolutely do not believe that women oppressed as they are by their muslim traditions and/or tribal rituals, would be so easily bedded. If this is the case for the average African woman, how much more applicable to the wife of the President, a dictator, a murderer. For if she did not fear him for her own life, she would have certainly feared him for the life of her son. There is no way any reasonable mother would enter so lightly into a situation that had such daunting implications. That this film would ask us to accept such a scenario is a disgrace to every mother of African decent, down to Margaret Garner, who attempted to kill her own children vs. see them sold into slavery. This portryal is a betrayal of the truth. I am disappointed that in 2007, we still have little tolerance for the truth regarding people of color. We are not beasts with passions like unto animals in heat or enraged, but a complex, human creation...sometimes touching the heavens and othertimes at the very gates of hell, but nonetheless human like unto all. Full Review »
  3. Aug 24, 2013
    The movie presents enough of what is realistic to make this story seem interesting. Forest Whitaker is absorbed into the role, perhaps moreThe movie presents enough of what is realistic to make this story seem interesting. Forest Whitaker is absorbed into the role, perhaps more intimidating than the real Idi Amin. He manages to make people overlook his teddy bear face to see the terror of Idi Amin and what he caused. Full Review »