For most, the journey is hopeless; there is no where to hide or destination to run to in Uganda. It is through characterization, plot, and themes that viewers are lead and eventually dragged violently into the deprived paranoid world of General Idi Amin.
There are three profound characters: General Idi Amin, Nicholas Garrigan, and Kay Amin. Forest Whitaker's betrayal of Idi Amin starts to build the psychological drama with the introduction of General Idi Amin. Whitaker the actor is a presence at 6 feet, and, in his portrayal of the dictator, closely resembled him. He has a film history of playing powerful big men. As an actor Whitaker has charisma on screen. The film viewers want to trust and feel safe with him. This adds to the believability of the character, because General Idi Amin is also very charismatic. The magnetic connection that Nicholas Garrigan has to General Idi Amin is compelling. The actor James McAvoy is a compliment to Whitaker's character. He has the power to evoke curiosity, frailty, strength, and manliness in his characters. He showed this same talent when portraying Mr. Tumnus in the screen version of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The combination of the larger than life Whitaker and the frail but manly McAvoy opens the movie with undeniable and effective chemistry.
The young Scottish doctor although accomplished academically is very idealist and care free. He shows little forward knowledge of the consequences of his actions. This is a sharp contrast to General Idi Amin who examines, judges, and harshly punishes the action of everyone around him. Nicholas Garrigan came to Uganda to escape from what he views as a boring life. He has the same outlook as young men joining the Army with the promise of adventures and the opportunity to seek a new land vastly different from their home. Like General Idi Amin, he insensitively toys with others. He is womanizer. Nicholas Garrison is enthralled and seductively enticed by the benefits of being in General Idi Amin's inner circle. He has no idea of the consequences or power being a personal physician to a dictator brings.
The relationship in the beginning is one of infatuation between General Idi Amin and Nicholas Garrison. General Idi Amin admires the young doctor, because he is Scottish and decisive. He is bold enough without permission to use General Idi Amin's gun to shoot a cow. Again Nicholas Garrigan shows his blindness from consequences of his actions. It is through the plot of the movie that both characters of General Idi Amin and Nicholas Garrigan evolve to where the General's character is fully revealed to Garrigan. He wakes up one day to realize that he loves a monster and has been part of his ghoulish dealings.
Garrigan finally realizes that consequences can be deadly. Kay Amin's role is the anchor in the plot. She forces Garrigan to acknowledge the horror that he has created in Uganda, and his role in it. Her relationship, death, and wrongly stitched together body put on public display shocks Garrison. It forces him to conspire with the British.
Kay Amin, portrayed by Kerry Washington, catalyst Nicholas Garrigan's epiphany. Without her death, Nicholas could not have understood and felt the full horror or General Idi Amin. Although General