ON THE BIG SCREEN!
David Fincher’s Netflix-presented passion project about the brilliant and troubled screenwriter of Citizen Kane, Herman J. Mankiewicz, has been called a “love letter” to 1930s Hollywood, an intense portrait of an obsessive alcoholic, and a deliciously dreamlike technical masterpiece. What it isn’t, is simple.
Hollywood loves telling stories about itself. Sometimes it turns out panegyric stories of the glowing glory days; sometimes it produces sordid, secretive tales of the squalid underbelly of fame. But in either case, filmmakers remain convinced that audiences want to know about the making of films. Mank (with Gary Oldman in peak form as the title character) gives us a hard hero to like. He’s a drunk, a somewhat self-hating journalist, and a jealous dervish of creativity. But it’s also compulsively watchable, and this perspective on the already well-worn story behind the making of one of the greatest movies of all time hadn’t yet been brought so comprehensively into the light. Also stars Amanda Seyfried, Tom Burke, Charles Dance.
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