Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Last King of Scotland now on DVD

One of last year's most notable films is out on DVD now and has been for about a month. It's worth checking out, for the film itself and for the generous special features within. There is commentary with director Kevin McDonald, as well as deleted scenes (also with commentary), a documentary, a featurette, and the trailer. This is not a film most would want to own and watch repeatedly (it's not the most pleasant viewing experience, however gripping it may be), but the DVD is definitely worth a rental, and perhaps a buy if you're a big fan of James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington, or Gillian Anderson.

All four actors are great in their roles, despite Forest Whitaker's dominance in press and hype. One of the constant annoyances of last film season, for me, was the unending marginalization of James McAvoy's performance in this film. Outright snubbed in many awards shows, and nominated for supporting in others (which is even worse), the perf was never recognized in the way it deserved. And now of course McAvoy is not even shown on the DVD cover (right). How fitting. But McAvoy is the true lead in this film, and nearly (if not totally) Whitaker's equal in screen presence and performance quality. That said, Whitaker is magnificent in the role of a lifetime, and he nearly deserved his sweep of awards glory, Ryan Gosling and Hugh Jackman notwithstanding. And Gillian Anderson and especially Kerry Washington provide noteworthy, if not quite oscar-worthy, supporting turns.

Here's a link to my original review, where I praise McAvoy (and his sexiness) extensively. I also once stated in the old review that I thought it was one of the very best films of last year, and while I no longer agree with that assessment, I do think it's an effective thriller, boosted by two dynamite performances. I also like how it throws lots of race issues right in your faces and lets you work them out for yourself; it's a great conversation starter. Some of the images in the latter part of the film might be read as racially insensitive clichés, but the white characters (and whiteness in general) are criticized at every turn, and it's important to remember that the story is viewed subjectively through Garrigan's (McAvoy's) eyes, with the audience seeing events as he would. At its essence, it's not really a biopic, but a coming-of-age/loss-of-innocence story about Garrigan, and that's what I find most compelling.

In any case, check out the DVD. It's got a solid movie and solid special features, and is totally worth a look.



Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

I never want to have to think about this movie ever again. It makes me so angry, which is worse than just merely being a bad movie.

I've at least got Ja on my side in terms of negative attitude towards this film.

3:31 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Well, don't take the shout-out personally. You know why I had to do this post.

3:39 AM  
Blogger J.D. Judge said...

Well, couldn't you at least make the banner smaller so the entire post block doesn't fall beneath the sidebar?

4:09 AM  

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