Series Review: A Very English Scandal (2018)

What? You thought I was taking a break from blogging just because it’s christmas? Pffft. Don’t be silly.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a show… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Very English Scandal”.

We follow Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant), a British politician who’s beloved by many. But that could change if the people found out that he’d had a sexual relationship with a young man named Norman (Ben Whishaw). So really this is all about how Thorpe tries to cover up this part of his life, for fear of Norman exposing him. And I really liked the plot here. It not only gives us an engaging personal journey for both Thorpe and Norman, but we also get a fascinating look at how British politics and such worked in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s mainly steeped in drama, which it already handles very well, but what really gives it an edge is a sort of sly wit that makes it a lot more watchable. So yeah, the plot here is layered, fun, and overall quite engaging.

The characters here are layered, colorful, and just overall interesting. Hugh Grant plays Jeremy Thorpe, a highly charismatic British politician (paradoxical description, I know) who, as I already mentioned, has a secret… a secret that back in those days could be devastating if it would be brought into the light. So seeing him develop throughout the show as he deals with trying to hide his “shameful sins” is quite fascinating. And Hugh Grant is Hugh Great in the role. Ben Whishaw plays Norman Josiffe, the young man that Thorpe has his affair with. After they have a bit of a falling out, Norman kind of tries to expose this affair to the world. And seeing him go through all his struggles in the series is quite interesting. And Whishaw is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Alex Jennings, Patricia Hodge, Paul Hilton, Blake Harrison, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Murray Gold, and I think he did a great job with it. Remember how I said the storytelling here has kind of a sly wit to it? That often reflects in the score as well, as it both through its excellent main theme and a few other pieces carries an almost bouncy feel to it that captures the witty style quite well. That’s not to say that it’s all fun, as Gold also knows when to pull it back a bit and create some really good dramatic pieces.

Based on a book by John Preston, the show was written by Russell T. Davies and directed by Stephen Frears, and I think their teamwork here paid off quite well, as I think the craft on display here is really solid. There’s an energy to it all that makes it quite entertaining to follow, Frears (who is a generally a good director) really brought his A-game here. And Davies’ writing here presents all characters here in a way that doesn’t take much of an actual stance. Positives, negatives, both are shown here. The writing here is also surprisingly funny. Not in a straight-up comedy kind of way, but (again) in a sort of sly way.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“A Very English Scandal” is a surprisingly entertaining political drama filled with great acting. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Very English Scandal” is a 9,61/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “A Very English Scandal” is now completed.

Maybe Hugh Grant is more of a character actor than a proper leading man…

Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

spotlight-one-sheet

Bullshit happens in our world all the time. From corrupt politicians, to corrupt courts, to corrupt cops, to corrupt men of faith… a lot of corruption now that I think about it. Anyhow, all of it is awful… I got nothing else to say.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spotlight”.

The year is 2001. The Boston globe’s investigative team (called “Spotlight”, roll credits) starts investigating allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. And the movie follows their journey as they are looking into this, and some of the difficulties with getting it done. And it’s no huge conspiracy thriller we’re dealing with here, oh no. This is a quiet and slowly burning drama that completely engrossed me from start to finish. Seeing these people investigate all of this is incredibly fascinating. And I have to admit that when certain things were uncovered and we learned more about what was going on… I got a little bit disturbed… because the things that we learn are pretty fucked up. But yeah, I was totally invested in the story of this movie. It was very interesting and had a good amount of emotion to it.

The characters in this movie are all very clearly passionate about this investigation they are working on, and they are all very interesting and believable. And the actors definitely helped sell a lot of that for me. Mark Ruffalo is great, Michael Keaton is great, Rachel McAdams is great, Liev Schreiber is great, Brian d’Arcy James is great, John Slattery is great… every single actor in this movie is great! But what I enjoyed about these performances mainly is how reserved they all are… which adds a lot to the realism of it. Really, the way they act in this movie doesn’t feel Hollywoodized in any way, it feels very real and genuine. There’s only maybe one outburst (typical Oscar/Hollywood thing) in this movie, but it feels like it has a purpose where it is, and doesn’t just feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. Yeah, it’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Howard Shore and it is pretty damn good. Most of the time I really didn’t necessarily notice it, but that isn’t really a bad thing. Like with the story and acting, the score is very quiet and reserved and perfectly fits the movie. And after also litening to it a bit after the movie I have to say that the music overall is really good.

This movie was directed by Tom McCarthy and I think he did a really good job with it. The shots never do anything too crazy or innovative, but it’s a smoothly directed movie that looks great. And again, it perfectly works with the more quiet and reserved style of everything else in the movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best picture and Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actor (Ruffalo), Best supporting actress (McAdams), Best director, and Best film editing. 

“Spotlight” is a pretty fuckin’ great movie. It has an engrossing plot, really interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *ahem*. My final score for “Spotlight” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Spotlight” is now completed.

Remember that time Bruce Wayne, Howard Stark, Bruce Banner, Christine Palmer,  and Sabretooth worked for a newspaper? Good times.