The Last King of Scotland is a Movie that depicts the life of the late Ugandan dictator, Iddi Amin Dada. Famed for his love for anything Scottish, the movie shows how Amin’s obsession led to a series of events that affected so many people. Set in Uganda, the movie opens with the scene of a young white doctor who has decided to go and offer his skills in Uganda. Unknown to him, President Iddi Amin Dada has just overthrown a sitting president and is running a dictatorial regime in the East African nation (Rotten Tomatoes, 2007).
It does not take Dr. Nicholas Garrigan long before he meets the president. Barely has he settled in Uganda, he comes across the president’s convoy and entourage on their way from a rally. The president’s hand is injured and there is chaos in the scene. Offering his services to the president, Dr. Garrigan treats the man’s injured hand and, in the process, shoots an injured cow that had been howling all along (Rotten Tomatoes, 2007). Iddi is incensed that Dr. had used is gun to shoot the cow. But on realizing Dr. Garrigan is Scottish, his scowling face breaks into a smile. From then onwards, he becomes the president’s physician and his trusted adviser.
While working for Iddi, Dr. Garrigan comes face to face with the brutality of the man. At first, he closes his eyes to them and assumes the president is a good man. Indeed, even the evidence he was being shown by the local British Foreign Office representative about the man’s murders only elicited Dr. G arigan’s criticism of the west’s inability to allow Africans to run their own affairs (Rotten Tomatoes, 2007). Later on, when he was already too entangled to escape, Dr. acknowledges that there was a problem with Iddi’s administration. Worse still, he is already entangled in a love affair with Iddi’s youngest wife, Kay, who later on gets pregnant, and is killed as she sources for abortion.
Alarmed, Dr. Garrigan realizes that his own life is in danger. Worse still, Iddi has planted spies on him and he cannot escape. His attempt to kill Iddi lands him in the hands of Iddi’s brutal soldiers who detain him. Meat hooks are used to pierce his chest, and he is hanged by his skin. His situation is dire as he awaits death. This is when Dr. Junju miraculously appears and smuggles him into a plane which Iddi had authorized to carry non-Israelis from a hijacked plane.
By depicting Iddi Amin Dada as a fiendish, brutal, and extremely vile character, the movie feeds the stereotypical image that many westerners hold about Africans. Additionally, by showing whites as the saviors of Ugandans, who are helpless in the face of Amin’s brutality, the movie further entrenches the racist view that the west has better values than Africans. But there are also parts where the movie shows Africans standing up to Amin’s brutality. Dr. Junju, for instance, defends Dr. Garrigan even at the risk of his own life. Indeed, it is Dr. Junju who, after Dr. Garrigan was held by the Ugandan authorities and facing imminent death, smuggled him into a plane (Rotten Tomatoes, 2007). He pays for this action with his life. Thus, the philosophy of racial relations and racial equality is expertly handled in this movie. At the end of it all, the movie makes the bold statement that it is the environment in which a person lives that determines his or her character, and not the color of their skin.