Film & TV

Politics on Film

The Last King of Scotland

As a critically-acclaimed award-winning drama, it’s easy to forget that The Last King of Scotland is a serious political film. Based on real events, the fabulous Forrest Whittaker’s Idi Amin first charms us with his eccentricities only for his erratic behaviour to come to the fore. The chilling final scenes depicting the aeroplane hijacking in Entebbe are based on real events and act as a reminder to Amin’s brutal eight-year rule. The appeal of The Last King of Scotland is in the telling of the fictional story of Dr. Nicholas Garrigan through the context of the only too real Idi Amin.

In the Loop

Armando Iannucci directs a satire of the events leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and although a budget film, it punches well above its weight. The performances are tragically humorous, none more so than Chris Addison as Toby Wright, and there are so many great lines that it is difficult to pick any out as a particular favourite. The language is an art, slipping effortlessly from profanity to contradiction. However, the endurance of the film’s cynical nature is yet to be tested: it is difficult to see the appeal of this film without the context of the Iraq war, in contrast to the timeless nature of Yes Minister.

V for Vendetta

Probably the starkest vision of a dystopian society in film in recent years, V for Vendetta is a strong anti-authoritarian and lightly anarchist film. The film is discomforting by contrasting the familiarity of everyday London, in particular the Houses of Parliament and the London Underground, with an authoritarian regime somewhere between Nazi Germany and Orwell’s society in 1984. The main character, V, is made to feel alive despite his expressionless mask by paying special attention to the voice and the use of lighting to demonstrate mood. V for Vendetta is a film that is as alarming as is it inspiring.

Martin Gowans

Film & TV

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