Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Notes on a Scandal

The acting...GOD the acting. It was SO good. Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, and Bill Nighy are incredible in Notes on a Scandal. The film itself is great, and deserves all the acclaim it received last year, but the acting is really what makes the film great. The direction is very typical of a stage director directing film, very minimal. Richard Eyre takes a very strong piece of writing, finds great actors, and lets them go wild without dazzling with too much detail in direction. I've found that it works pretty well. Because these directors put so much emphasis on the story and acting, the films are dramatic triumphs.
Mega-Bitch Barbara Covett, played masterfully by Judi Dench is one of the most original characters I've ever seen. She the perfect villain, menacing, while at the same time human and forgivable. There's a softness to her character, Barbara, that never quite lets you dislike her. That is, until you witness her plotting her next scheme against Sheba. I don't want to take away from the screenwriter, but the character is only as good as she is because of the subtle brilliance of Dench's acting. I was blown away. This is the first time I think I've ever seen Blanchett, one of my favorite actresses, out-acted by her co-actor (Dench).
I have to be a little indulgent here and talk about one of her scenes. It's the part where Richard and Sheba are fighting about the affair, Barbara sits above watching from the stairs as her internal voice releshes in the scenario she's created. Not only are all three of the actors in top form, but the scene is a perfect culmination of the film (and it wasn't the climax, persay). It had me all at once scared for Sheba, sorry for Richard, and ladened with Barabara's sick enjoyment. It was wonderful.


redneckzilla said...

It's been awhile since you've written! I'm so happy you're back to fill my work hours with enjoyment.

On the reviews: Frost/Nixon looked great. I'm excited to see it... probably when it comes out on video. I suck.

Panic Room was great. you suck.

I'll be truthful here: I really really didn't like "Notes on a Scandal." I guess I should have from a technical standpoint. It was a beautifully made movie. The story was intriguing and intense. The acting was great. But I seriously just. Didn't like it. Don't ask me why. I'll just say that I hate how lesbian Dame Judy Dench is.

I finally saw Lost in Translation last night. I really really really enjoyed it. I'm always a fan of Copolla. But it was just. Inventive. A great representation of friendships that don't make sense. It stuck with

So. Glad to see you writing again. Keep doing it. Let me know what to watch next.

Austin said...

ughhhh panic room SUCKED. it was only tolerable because of david fincher's technical genius.

lost in translation is really good. the only thing Scarlett Johansson is remotely decent in.

And yeah the plot wasn't what was remarkable about Notes on a Scandal. I thought it was good, but what was GREAT was the dialogue and chemistry between the actors, and the performances as a whole. Some of the scenes were so intense!

SEE FROST/NIXON. Second best movie of the year. The best is a documentary called Man on Wire. It's the best documentary I've seen. And its on DVD now.