for me, the primary attraction here is philip glass’ score, but the writing and acting kept me interested. the film is told via a voice-over narrative given by dench and its detached, bitter, and isolated tone recall scorsese’s taxi driver. glass’ music serves to strengthen this tone and theme. his is a musical style that is perfectly matched to the dystopic vision of koyaanisqatsi, the obsession and dementia of notes on a scandal, the hours or secret window. his scores wouldn’t work on the latest hollywood blockbuster or some period action film, but they work well with the aforementioned ideas. he should collaborate with clint mansell and darren aronofsky. the writing here is at the same level as it is in taxi driver, though it’s not as good a film. the protagonist has a different, but similar, voice in notes on a scandal. they both have in common a dislike for the ordinary and for the bulk of humanity. they both pay particular attention to an individual female. where they differ, though, is in their unique way of expressing their views on society and social mores. travis bickle’s narrative i find to be occasionally humorous (for example, when he mentions his choice of apple pie and a slice of yellow cheese: “i thought it a good choice”), but dench’s narrative here is less humorous. that said, the film isn’t devoid of humor.
besides the score and the writing, dench’s performance is notable. blanchett’s performance was good as well, but not oscar worthy in my opinion. then again, my choice for best supporting actress (vera farmiga) didn’t even get nominated. dench’s role is tougher because it shows greater range and is less likable. that, though, could be the subject of a personality test: who do you find more reprehensible in this film – dench or blanchett? both do bad things and both are tortured in some way, but one is portrayed as the victim. good film.Watched in theater