A naive but charming Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) arrives to begin his career in early ’70s Uganda. He is at first intrigued and excited at becoming a favorite and then, down the road, the”white monkey” of General Idi Amin (Forrest Whitaker), but the doctor gradually comes to regret being close to the psychotic dictator, and then finally he has to run for his life.

That’s an interesting but less-than-fascinating story, and the bottom line with Kevin McDonald‘s The Last King of Scotland, which has a solid 86% positive Rotten Tomatoes rating, is that it’s only a pretty good because of this. It’s above average, but doesn’t quite have that snap-crackle-pop. But it has, of course, an Oscar-level lead performance from Whitaker, and it’s well made — colorful, atmospheric, well-observed — and so it’s far from a burn.