Anatomy of a Scandal Review: Sienna Miller Starrer Hangs Between Erotic Thriller & Courtroom Drama

Anatomy of a Scandal is a political crime thriller series released on Netflix on April 15, 2022. The series is based on Sarah Vaughan’s bestselling novel of the same name. Directed by David E. Kelley, Melissa James Gibson and starring Sienna Miller, Rupert Friend, Michelle Dockery, Naomi Scott, and Josette Simon. There are 6 episodes in total with a runtime of around 50 minutes each.

Netflix describes the series as:

“Sophie’s privileged life as the wife of powerful politician James unravels when scandalous secrets surface — and he stands accused of a shocking crime.”

-Anatomy of a Scandal Review Does Not Contain Any Spoilers-

The Plot Anatomy

Netflix’s limited series, Anatomy of a Scandal, follows the story of James Whitehouse, a Cabinet minister who lands himself in a scandalous reveal that he had an extramarital affair with his parliamentary researcher, Olivia. His wife Sophie Miller is definitely shaken by the cheating but remains unperturbed on the front to support James. However, what was thought of as a small hiccup turns out to be a serious matter when he is accused of rape by Olivia.

From then things start to take a different route as his life & past are pulled apart by the prosecution’s lawyer, Kate Woodcroft. She is known to win her cases with grit, so what will be James’s fate? Will Sophie remain by his side when allegations become more serious which tests the assessment of her husband’s character over & over?

Scandal: Unsurprising with Repetitive Elements

The events unfold simultaneously with present-day happenings and flashbacks of the past, as Sophie is trying to digest the information revealed to her one by one. Sophie & James were college sweethearts who met at Oxford and later created a happy family with two children. But the news of cheating shocked her to the core & it is portrayed visually with a flimsy camera work that shows her delirious state of mind.

The strength of the story though comes when any information can be credibly twisted in one way or another and still makes sense. How every word or action is pulled apart in a courtroom trial is grappling with tilted, upside-down camera angles. The music score used in the series is in total sync with what’s happening on screen. My favourite would be ‘How the mighty fall’ at the end of episode 1.

Anatomy of a Scandal Season 1.  Michelle Dockery as Kate Woodcroft

Anatomy of a scandal tries to explore the themes of sex, power play & manipulation but it doesn’t even come close to any resolution. The privileged remain as smug as ever & the victim keeps on suffering in their own pity. The elements used to show a different point of view of a shared event are impactful but they are used so often that they lose their importance.

The scene of sexual assault or lovemaking, depending on what side you are on, is shown so many times that starts to look like an erotic drama. Going through the scrutinising trials & reveals, Sophie also seems to be reflecting on her past character and privilege but that’s about it, she doesn’t really realise anything from it.

Final Verdict: Stream it or Skip it?

Netflix’s Anatomy of a Scandal is based on a novel that has taken inspiration from real-life events where British ministers were accused in the #metoo movement. Contrary to reality, you would think that in a fictional world it would be a bit different but no, it’s not much different from it. The series tries to talk about a lot of things like loyalty between the rich to maintain a status quo, power dynamics between genders & the grey parts of infidelity.

Anatomy of a Scandal

But it only jumps from one theme to another without actually exploring it or using it to create a strong defendant. It started off quite strong with the right pace, wonderful acting and a promising storyline that will glue you to your seat until the end. But somewhere along the course it lost its path and became a mixture of everything which leads to an obvious end that even the real twist makes you scoff at its absurdity.

Anatomy of a Scandal is streaming on Netflix.

Also Read: Dhahanam Review: Underwhelming Story of Revenge

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Anatomy of a Scandal is a Netflix thriller series that follows the story of a British Minister landing in a scandal but finds himself in a deeper grave when more secrets are revealed.

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Anatomy of a Scandal is a Netflix thriller series that follows the story of a British Minister landing in a scandal but finds himself in a deeper grave when more secrets are revealed.Anatomy of a Scandal Review: Sienna Miller Starrer Hangs Between Erotic Thriller & Courtroom Drama