On the Basis of Sex
I first became aware of Mychael Danna with the release of The Boondock Saints, a 1999 cult classic which he scored alongside his brother and frequent collaborator Jeff. That he went on to win the Oscar and Golden Globe for best original score in 2012 with Life of Pi was no surprise. Danna's work is immensely enjoyable, and he is a fellow Canadian to boot. Not only that, but he was born in Winnipeg, my hometown, pitting my appreciation of his work beside an unanticipated feeling of pride. Needless to say, I have looked forward to reviewing his music, and On the Basis of Sex does not disappoint. Danna's score presents a strong argument for recontextualizing instrumentation that has predominantly been applied to men over the years for women. Wide, spacious intervals rumble across the grand piano, joined by snare drums, robust strings, and running woodwinds. The snares in particular contribute to the battle-ready nature of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a force to be reckoned with, enhanced by syncopated, jumping strings that seem to be strategically advancing with a careful precision to match the sharp mind of their subject. The score sees in her what few else do; a much needed change, along with all the hope and doubt this entails. More than merely offering strength and tenacity to the character, this score brings weight and distinction to her plea.