The Last King of Scotland

  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Giles Foden, Screenplay, Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Thriller
  • Actors: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson

The film opens in Scotland in 1970 as Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) graduates from medical school. Faced with the dull prospect of joining his bourgeois father in the family’s village practice, he decides instead to seek adventure abroad by taking up a position in a Ugandan missionary clinic run by Dr. David Merrit (Adam Kotz) and his wife Sarah (Gillian Anderson). Garrigan quickly becomes attracted to Sarah; she enjoys his attentions, but refuses to engage in an extramarital affair with him. This reveals that one of Garrigan’s character flaws is his attraction to married women; this will become significant later in the film.

Coinciding with Garrigan’s arrival in Uganda, General Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) is concluding a successful coup d’état to overthrow incumbent president Milton Obote. The two men meet at the scene of a minor car accident, where Garrigan treats Amin’s injured hand. Amin who admires Scotland for its long resilience under English rule, is delighted to discover the doctor’s nationality. Garrigan is impressed by Amin’s charisma, affability, and by his vision of an egalitarian golden age for Uganda. Their friendship is cemented when Amin exchanges his military shirt for Garrigan’s “Scotland” T-shirt. Some days later, Amin invites Garrigan to become his personal physician and to take charge of modernising the country’s health care system. Garrigan accepts, leaves the clinic, and moves to Kampala.

Forty-eight hours later, Israeli forces stormed Entebbe and liberated all but one of the hostages. International public opinion turned against Amin for good. When he was finally overthrown in 1979, jubilant crowds poured onto the streets. His regime had killed more than 300,000 Ugandans and expelled tens of thousands of Asians who had made Uganda their home for years. Amin died in exile in Saudi Arabia on 16 August 2003. Nobody knows if that was the date he dreamed about.

The Damned United

  • Directors: Tom Hooper
  • Producers: Andy Harries, Grainne Marmion
  • Writers: Peter Morgan, David Peace
  • Genres: Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Colm Meaney, Timothy Spall

After failing to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, England manager Alf Ramsey is sacked and replaced by Don Revie, the highly successful manager of Leeds United. Revie is replaced at Leeds by Brian Clough, a former manager of Derby County and a fierce critic of Leeds’s style of play under Revie. Much attention is called to the fact that Clough’s longtime assistant, Peter Taylor, has not joined him at Leeds, and Clough claims in an interview to Yorkshire Television that the team cannot possibly have been happy under Revie, due to the violent and physical nature of their game.

The roots of Clough’s conflict with Revie are depicted as happening in a 1967 FA Cup match between Leeds, who were then leading the First Division (though they did not win it that season) and Derby, who were struggling near the bottom of the Second Division. Clough assumes Revie to be a similar man to himself, owing to the fact that they grew up in the same part of Middlesbrough; come the day of the match however, Revie either ignores Clough or fails to make him out in the crowd upon entering Derby’s Baseball Ground stadium. The match proves to be a tough affair, and despite their best efforts Derby lose 2–0 to Leeds.[1] Clough initially blames the brutality of the Leeds players, but he and Taylor recognise that their side simply aren’t good enough on a technical level and so remedy the problem by signing veteran Dave Mackay, along with several other young players. The club’s frugal chairman, Sam Longson is extremely anxious about the investment and more so the fact that Clough didn’t bother to consult him about signing Mackay. However, Derby win the Second Division title in 1969, and the following season once more face up to Leeds, the defending First Division champions… and promptly lose 5–0.

In the film’s epilogue, the audience is told that Don Revie proved a complete failure as an England manager, and afterwards never worked in football in his home country again, spending the rest of his career working in the Middle East. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor meanwhile reunited at Nottingham Forest, where he repeated his prior achievements with Derby by taking them up and winning the First Division, and this time bettered both Revie and his own spell at Derby by winning two European Cups in succession. The film ends by branding Clough “the best manager that the English national side never had.”

Frost Nixon

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Peter Morgan
  • Genres: Drama, History
  • Actors: Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, Matthew Macfadyen, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Andy Milder

A series of news reports documents the role of Richard Nixon (Langella) in the bugging of members of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex up until news that the House of Representatives is likely to vote to impeach Nixon. The film then cuts to a behind the scenes view of Nixon making his resignation speech. Nixon is shown leaving the White House in a helicopter and flying away.

Meanwhile David Frost (Sheen) is finishing an episode of his talk show Frost Over Australia, until he comes off set to see Nixon entering the helicopter on a television. He asks a producer to ascertain the worldwide viewing figures for the event.

A few weeks later in the London Weekend Television (LWT) central office, Frost discusses with his producer and friend, John Birt (Matthew Macfadyen), the possibility of an interview. When Frost mentions Nixon as the subject, Birt doubts the likelihood that Nixon would be willing to talk to Frost. Frost then tells Birt that 400 million people watched President Nixon’s resignation on live TV.

Nixon is shown recovering from illness in La Casa Pacifica, in San Clemente, California, discussing his memoirs with literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar (Toby Jones), who tells the former president of a request by Frost to conduct an interview. Lazar mentions that CBS was offering $350,000 to Frost’s $500,000. In a series of cutaway interviews, Lazar explains how he managed to talk Frost up to $600,000.

Shortly before Frost returns to the UK, he and Caroline visit Nixon in his villa and Frost thanks him for the interviews. Nixon questions Frost if they really had a discussion on the phone, and asks what they discussed. Frost replies “cheeseburgers,” and bids goodbye to Nixon and leaves. The closing titles describe Frost’s future successes and Nixon’s continued controversy and absence from political activity until his death in 1994.

The Other Boleyn Girl

  • Directors: Justin Chadwick
  • Producers: Alison Owen
  • Writers: Screenplay, Peter Morgan, Novel, Philippa Gregory
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors: Natalie Portman, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess, Scarlett Johansson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Rylance, Ana Torrent, David Morrissey

When Catherine of Aragon fails to produce a male heir to the English throne, the Duke of Norfolk and his brother in law, Thomas Boleyn, scheme to install the latter’s elder daughter Anne in the court of Henry VIII as the king’s mistress and potential mother of his son, thereby furthering their own political ambitions much to the disgust of Thomas’ wife and the duke’s sister, Elizabeth Boleyn. At first, Anne is reluctant to go along with the idea, fearing that her reputation will be ruined, but in the end goes along to please her father and uncle. The plan backfires when Henry, injured in a hunting accident indirectly caused by Anne, is nursed by her recently married sister Mary and he becomes smitten of her. With great reluctance, Mary and her husband William Carey agree to accept positions at the court, knowing full well what will be expected of her. William is then sent away on an assignment by the king. Separated from her spouse, Mary finds herself falling in love with Henry.

Rebellious Anne secretly marries betrothed nobleman Henry Percy to impress her family and confides in her brother George. Thrilled, George tells Mary about the elopement. Concerned that Anne will disgrace herself by marrying a nobleman without the King’s consent, she alerts her father and uncle of the union. They confront Anne, who argues that the marriage has been consummated and what is done before God cannot be undone. Despite her argument, the marriage is annulled and she is exiled to France in disgrace. Feeling that Mary betrayed her only to increase her own status, Anne vows revenge.

The closing captions reveal that Thomas Boleyn, disgraced and alone, died two years after the deaths of Anne and George while Elizabeth Boleyn died a year after her husband. The Duke of Norfolk was later imprisoned while his son and grandson were both executed. True to her word, Elizabeth never saw or spoke to her husband or brother again. Mary returned to William and lived happily with him and the children away from court for the rest of her life. The captions also reveal that perhaps Henry should not have been concerned about leaving England with a strong heir because he, in fact, did. However, it was not the son he desired, but the strong red haired daughter Anne gave him, Elizabeth.

State of Play

  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers: Andrew Hauptman, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy, Peter Morgan, Billy Ray, Paul Abbott
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jason Bateman

The plot is similar to that of the original 6-part program, retaining several main characters, but condensing and changing certain aspects to fit the two-hour format. The film is set in Washington, D.C. and tells of Stephen Collins (Affleck), a fast-rising United States Congressman with ambitions to become his party’s presidential candidate. This goal is threatened after his mistress (Maria Thayer), a former research assistant, is found dead in suspicious circumstances, while right-wing opponents to Collins’ campaign for social reform attempt to use the scandal to kill his political career. During a probe into a series of seemingly unrelated murders, Cal McCaffrey (Crowe), an investigative journalist and Collins’ former campaign manager, finds himself tasked with solving the case, becoming romantically involved with the Congressman’s estranged wife (Wright Penn) in the process.[2][3][4][5]