film reel image

film reel image

Monday, December 7, 2020

Mank 2020 * * 1/2 Stars


"We're expecting great things". I was too, especially since I just finished watching a David Fincher film. Fincher is diverse, dark, and talented. He's a director that has been known to touch greatness (just watch 2007's Zodiac and you'll know what I mean). 

Anyhow 2020's Mank is my latest review. It was released in November by Netflix and is filmed in black and white. Truth be told, Fincher gives us one heck of a gimmick here. Watching Mank is surreal because it feels like you're literally taking in a flick from the 1940s. The lighting, the set design, the sound editing, and even the opening credits really bring you aback. 

Starring Gary Oldman and featuring a stirring musical score from a couple of Fincher veterans (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross), Mank runs a languid 131 minutes. Minus the solid performances and a bit of the whimsical, I felt like I was taking in a less entertaining version of The Aviator

So yeah, Mank is filled with flashbacks while being choppily edited and/or all over the place. David Fincher who's normally a supreme storyteller, loses a little bit of his focus here. There's a lot of scenes where the concept of point a to b almost doesn't exist. Added to that, Mank is dialogue-driven and it is dialogue-driven in the most recyclable way.  

Mank chronicles screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. Herman co-wrote the infamous Citizen Kane but that sort of takes a backdrop. Mank is more about Mankiewicz the man and less about his involvement with "Kane". 

Mankiewicz was an alcoholic who died young at the age of 55. Oldman channels him brilliantly but where's the stuff where Mankiewicz is doing some actual writing. Fincher sees him more as a drunken depressive who's witty, opinionated, and off the cuff. I liked Mank's technical prowess and old worldliness but I'm going with a mixed rating.  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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