MPAA Rating: R
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
Runtime: 2 hr 11 mins
What It Is: Screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz (Oldman) is tasked with writing a film for rising superstar and hotshot Orson Welles…who wants to direct. Stuck with a broken leg, thanks to a car accident, he is under humongous pressure to finish by a deadline. Meanwhile, the content of the script is given context as we learn about “Manks” history in Hollywood. His battles with studios heads and newspaper man William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance) becoming the template for one of cinemas greatest films Citizen Kane.
What We Think: This is a cinephiles film. If you’re not too into movies you’ll more then likely find this dry bore. Fincher is doing whatever the hell he wants here. Let’s make a film where they speak in the noir pacing popular at the time. Let’s also make it about a guy few will know about. Oh and make sure it’s in black and white. This is the result of that. A really sharply written piece that Mank himself would be proud of. Oldman is great (again) but Amanda Seyfried gives perhaps her best performance in her supporting role and will certainly have some nominations on the way for this. Jack Finchers script is so full of bite and snappy you can’t help but get sucked in to the story. There’s rarely a bad step. Even Tom Burke who’s walkthrough performance in the overrated The Souvenir left a bad taste in the mouth of this critic here he’s totally killer as Orson Welles. Like…dude nails it. What needs to be mentioned here is that there’s so much here that someone can point to and say…that was my favorite thing about this film.
Our Grade: A, Netflix working with Fincher seems like strange bedfellows to be sure but it freakin’ worked man! This doesn’t come off as Fincher settling. Instead he feels refreshed and revitalized. This film does not have that look of any other Fincher film. This sort of…plastic sort of look. This sanitized look that is, for me, a hallmark of the legendary directors style. A killer cast, razor sharp script and solid performances make for one of 2020’s best. Even if it was expected.