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Senior Shackster
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Ever so often you run across a movie that has a very interesting story line, excellent actors from top to bottom, great natural sound, and the ability to transport you mentally to the location where the story orginates from. The Last King of Scotland just happens to be one of those movies.

There are a couple of story lines going on at once, but neither seems to crowd each other or become convoluted. The main story line chronicles the rise to power of Idi Amin (Forrest Whitaker) as dictator(or offically named himself "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.") of Uganda from 1971-1979. At first both people from inside. and outside of Uganda welcomed him. However his rivalry with former President and leader Oboto, the ethnic violence that insued, and a series of very bad decisions including holding Jewish hostages of a hijacked Air France flight 139, to the invasion of Tanzania led to his exile in 1979.

The second story line revolves around a naive young Doctor Garrigan (James McAvoy) who comes to Uganda to work at a small mission. In a car accident, Amin and Dr. Garrigan meet which changes Dr. Garrigan work and life in Uganda until his escape. You quickly understand how lack of maturity and knowledge can conspire to work against him while living in Uganda.

It is hard to judge the picture quality of this DVD as it is a studio screener. In saying that, what I saw on this DVD was excellent. There was little noise, and very little artifacting to be found. I did see the occasional halo's around the edges of uniforms every now and then, but nothing to distract me in a profound way. It was framed at 2:35:1(according to my Pandora Box aspect measurement software), great contrast, very deep blacks, highly detailed for a 480p picture. I have no way of knowing of the commercial DVD will look this good, but I hope so.

Sound wise this movie is an terrific example of how sound can enhance the story telling experience. There are times when the soundfield is so very eveloping that you almost feel you are live in the scene. Subtle effects occasionally pop out at you with great clarity, the soundfield is huge and spacious with excellent imaging outside the speakers, but in between them and behind them as well. There is occasional deep bass eminating from all channels, with a particularly deep explosion that felt like it lifted my couch during the jail attack scene of Oboto's soldiers. The surrounds are used occasionally, but very effectively in pulling you into the action.

If you haven't seen this movie in the theater yet I would highly recommend this as a DVD buy when it comes out. It is a rare jewel of a film that rises above the mindless clatter that quite frequently comes out of Hollywood. When you see the live footage of Idi Amin, you will see just how much Forrest Whitaker had become him in this movie.
 
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