Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 120 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In an incredible twist of fate, a Scottish doctor (McAvoy) on a Ugandan medical mission becomes irreversibly entangled with one of the world's most barbaric figures: Idi Amin (Whitaker). Impressed by Dr. Garrigan's brazen attitude in a moment of crisis, the newly self-appointed Ugandan President Amin hand picks him as his personal physician and closest confidante. Though Garrigan is at first flattered and fascinated by his new position, he soon awakens to Amin's savagery - and his own complicity in it. Horror and betrayal ensue as Garrigan tries to right his wrongs and escape Uganda alive. (Fox Searchlight Pictures) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 75
    Director Kevin Macdonald has fashioned a film that is at times nearly as harrowing as his previous endeavor, "Touching the Void."
  5. The story is fanciful, with grotesquely improbable twists involving the fictional Garrigan (James McAvoy) and one of the dictator's three wives (Kerry Washington). But as Amin, Forest Whitaker's command of the screen is so thorough, so frightening, so ripe with malice that you won't move in your seat for fear of catching his eye.
  6. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    An adequate thriller redeemed by Forest Whitaker's sensational turn as Idi Amin.
  7. This veteran actor is always great, and it's just a little bit sad that he has to play a big, scary demon for us to sit up and finally take notice.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 58
  2. Negative: 2 out of 58
  1. StuartS.
    Oct 21, 2006
    Whitaker will be nominated for an Acadamy Award for an incredible portrayal of Edi Amin. A lot of history you might not be totally familiar with and you will enjoy learning about. Not to be seen by those who are squeamish. Expand
  2. RalphM.
    Mar 10, 2007
    I recommend this movie in a Double feature with Amazing Grace as a study of the paths that two different lives can take. This is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. Expand
  3. EverrettU
    May 30, 2009
    Highly rewarding drama with terrific performances.
  4. BenA.
    Jan 16, 2007
    Beautifully shot, utterly gripping. Forest Whitaker gives an outstanding performance as the psychotic Amin.
  5. Jun 28, 2013
    Wow, this movie remembers you how people like Amin comes in different countries, but in the same way. The plot is about a guy, that actually didn't exist, it's because (I think) the director wanted to show the events from a different point of view, a "white" man working for the president. This film is really good, there are no regrets. Expand
  6. JudyT.
    Jan 22, 2007
    Great performance by Forrest Whitaker. Definitely Oscar worthy. James McAvoy is also very good in a role that makes you hate him and feel sorry for him at the same time. Expand
  7. 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 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. Expand

See all 58 User Reviews