The Last King of Scotland

After an evening on the 16th of March that had to go down in history books as a great evening and after we were courteously thrown out of the magician’s cave because they had to close down, we chose to cobble up resources for ensuring that the long evening continued and was long remembered; headed off to a friend’s place to welcome the first rays of sunlight of the 17th.

Like I said, it had already been a long evening and some of the eveningers were beginning to lose control on their eyelids and within those that managed to keep them open and alert; an argument of sorts ensued. I was unfortunately alone in the blue corner with more than five vocal eveningers in the red corner.

The mark of a good actor is to ensure that he or she isn’t noticed. And a very few are able to do that. It doesn’t matter how great the film is, what locale and setting and period it is set in, you always end up seeing Tom Cruise, rather than the brash secret agent or the warrior captured by the Japanese. But you hardly ever get to see Daniel Day Lewis. You always see Hawkeye or the Butcher or Christy Brown. That is a mark of a good actor or an actress.

The argument that evening of course, was about who belonged to be in this category and who were so overpowering as themselves that they never fit into the character. The blue corner held good ground for a many long hours. It became heated when Johnny Depp became a focus of the argument, peppered with perhaps a bit of a personal bias. As you may have realised, there were women in the red corner. It then came down to the Big B. The argument took a twist – nature of film-making, apparently is also a heavy influencing factor. The two sleepy eyelids who were apparently supposed to fight with me went to sleep again.

Blue corner lost, after a damn good fight.

Last Sunday, I saw The Last King of Scotland. I was a bit (happily) surprised by Gillian Anderson in The Last King of Scotland, even though she had a very small canvas to work with. The camera work intrigued me – almost deceptively hand-camera style, subtle, almost mistaken movements, telling very short stories about the character. Forest Whitaker, of course came out tops with the most amazing performance. Idi Amin lived longer than the duration of the shoot of the film. I don’t need to say much – a whole lot has been said about his performance.

Needless to say, I didn’t notice Whitaker in the film.

I felt the scars of the cuts and bruises I had received that long evening in the blue corner. As I slowly walked out of the theatre, I smiled to myself. Being right and winning aren’t necessarily partners in crime.

Related: Standing Strong; Blue Corner


8 thoughts on “The Last King of Scotland

  1. I would agree that a good actor will not allow their persona to overpower the character they play. But I would also say that a successful actor will also not let his persona down purely for commercial reasons and this sometimes also happens in the movie. AB for instance tends to do that (or maybe we are biased towards him that we don’t look beyond his persona). De Niro or Pacino are in the same category so is Sean Connery – though I don’t necessarily mean that they do this for commercial reasons, they just can’t help it. They are larger than life. Forest Whittaker for example is not. (Incidently he won every conceivable award for Best Actor, except one this year), maybe now his persona changes, maybe now is the time to watch Forest Whittaker and “not see him”.


  2. ==Jolvin:
    Nothing wrong with someone holding the persona, being larger than life – people become famous and it is possible to recognise them for who they are rather than their characters.

    Blue corner was only arguing about when that phenomenon affects the character.



  3. Pingback: Standing Strong; Blue Corner | Gaizabonts

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