Mank is one of Fincher’s most elegant works. Erik Messerschmidt (Gone Girl) ‘s black and white cinematography that feels authentic, with a multi-part glitch effect; an orchestra created by the Fincher duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, turning every corner of history into the most dramatic and extraordinary event known to mankind; a sound system that seems to invite the public to a lavish party filled with antiques and beautiful figures. Mank looks like the titular writer did in the 1930s to 1940. Even text describing the place and time of an event is wrapped like the title of a scene in a script. Best Movie Site
Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) is a figure that people would call a “loose cannon”. He does whatever he pleases, loves to gamble, is an alcoholic, and never gets the words out of his mouth. Mank looks more like a rockstar than a screenwriter. Oldman played with confidence, which reinforced tragedy as Mank’s career waned. He became a drunk without a job, but still maintained that attitude. A performance that guaranteed Oldman’s third Oscar nomination.
Similar to Citizen Kane, Mank adopts a non-linear narrative style, moving back and forth between the ages (mainly 1930 and 1940), describing how a top writer ends up in dialination. The first time we meet Mank, he just got into a car accident, leaving him lying in bed, in a house in a remote location. Fräulein Frieda (Monika Gossmann) and Rita Alexander (Lily Collins) are in charge of caring for and helping Mank, who must complete the Citizen Kane manuscript in 60 days.
Mank’s manuscript was inspired by the famous newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance in an intimidating performance). The non-linear method that this film uses is actually effective at explaining why Mank, who was initially good friends, ended up pouring Hearst’s ugliness over. Moreover, as an experienced industry player, Mank knows very well the risks that await against those in power. Movie Review
The more the two timelines intersect, the clearer the heart and mind of the protagonist will become, as we watch him face the ranks of the MGM studio executives until he realizes how the system goes against his principles. Taking a background where explicit propaganda is often inserted in the film, Mank also does not hesitate to touch on political elements. By then the election for governor of California was drawing near. As a result, attacking each other between candidates is a daily sight. Mank supports Democratic Party representatives, while studios are behind the Republican candidate’s campaign. As a negative campaign strategy, MGM made fake documentaries in order to bring down the Democrats. “Writer is more of a menace to an unsuspecting public than a party hack,” said Mank when he learned of the plan.
That’s what Mank was trying to describe. The nature of film as a medium of manipulation, as was Charles Foster Kane through his newspaper. Based on his father’s script, David Fincher (still an expert on high-dynamic film composition) is able to tell the above in an entertaining manner. Several witty moments, most of which were born from verbal speech, were presented. One thing I will keep in mind is when Mank and his team of writers approached David O. Selznick (Toby Leonard Moore), an executive at Paramount, to report on the progress of the latest manuscript. But those, who were more fond of placing ridiculous bets than writing, had yet to settle. So the writers, shouting back at each other, improvise a typical Universal B-class monster horror.
Even so, Mank is still not a spectacle for all circles. In order to get a thorough understanding, the audience must know some facts related to the history of the Hollywood Golden Age. At least watching Citizen Kane, although in truth, that’s not enough.
Oldman is indeed the brightest star in this film, but other names also shine. Tuppence Middleton gives a rich interpretation when playing Mank’s wife, Sara, who is called “Poor Sara” by her husband, because Mank knows how his addictions and tendencies to engage in platonic affairs often give his wife headaches. Sara remains a caring figure, but not submissive. Her eyes and gesture were gentle but sure, because Sara knew exactly what she wanted. “I have to stick around to see how it turns out,” he said in front of Mank who was down.
When it comes to platonic affairs, one of the “Mank girls” is Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), Hearst’s actress and lover. Seyfried, in one of the best performances of his entire career, has the charm of a Golden Age star. Sparkling on the screen, always looking graceful and elegant, but actually hiding wounds and fragility. Maybe that’s the price that industry players have to pay. Faking yourself. Mank refused to do that. Top Movie