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Mank Netflix Movie Review

Mank (2020)

Watch Mank on Netflix
Written by: Jack Fincher (screen play by)
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Charles Dance, Bill Nye
Rated: R
Watch the trailer

Reevaluating 1930’s Hollywood through the eyes of the scathing social critic and alcoholic, screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane.

It’s a movie where the technical side is impressive, but it overshadows the story. We see Mank’s downfall as he writes one of the cinematic greats Citizen Kane. The movie looks nearly like a period piece and the dialog has that same cadence, but I never found the plot very engaging. I like its style and what it’s doing. You don’t need to know Citizen Kane to get this movie, we see the events that informed the movie.
It depends.

This definitely gets the look and style of something from classic Hollywood, it even gets the dialog right. While Mank is the main character, I wasn’t sure what the movie was about other than maybe a nostalgia trip, a look back at the golden age of Hollywood. 

Gary Oldman plays Mank.

This plays into politics a bit. Mank’s movie studio is lobbying candidates and trying to influence a local election. That definitely feels timely, giving the movie a contemporary connection.

This is a bit like Roma, another indulgent Netflix project. That isn’t a problem, but this isn’t quite a character study, and it isn’t quite a whirlwind escapade of writing Citizen Kane. We watch the downfall of Mank as he’s writing the best script of his career. We as the audience know how big of a movie it will be.

This bounces back and forth between the early ’30s and ’40s, maybe it’s a not to Citizen Kane. We get to see the inspiration for Citizen Kane as Mank is basing it on figures he knows. Mank has a way of alienating everyone he knows due to being outspoken and later an alcoholic.

I like what this movie wants to do. While it didn’t engage me as much as I’d hoped, this might just be one of those movie you need to watch a second time.

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