‘Mank’ Review: Fincher’s Love Letter to Hollywood


Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Burke

Directed by: David Fincher

Screenplay: Jack Fincher

Cinematography: Erik Messerschmidt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Letterboxd Score

There is so much to say about Mank. There is so much praise for this wonderful and exciting film. From the delightful and engaging story, to the acting, all the way to the remarkable cinematography. Every moment in this film is an ode to classic Hollywood and specifically to one its most acclaimed films its produced—Citizen Kane. To sum this film up, Fincher said it best, he wanted Mank to feel like it was discovered in Martin Scorsese’s basement and restored for our time. The Social Network and fellow Fincher collaborative editor, Kirk Baxter edits in a way that the dialogue in motion, the low-angle shots all feel reminiscent of classic Hollywood and the epicness you experienced watching Scorsese’s classic films such as Casino. The film retells the story of how Orson Welles’ iconic film Citizen Kane, how it came to life and the story behind true writer of the film, Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Right away, you are transcended to 1930s and 1940s Hollywood. Immersed in a black and white world, a color scheme that we only remember this era by. The attention to detail is mind-blowing, even including sound details, emulating the lo-fi quality you are familiar with of movies from that time period. You get exactly what you expect from a Fincher project, with every meticulous puzzle piece intentionally and genuinely placed one by one. Earlier this year Fincher received unheralded praise from a fellow acclaimed director Tarantino about his film The Social Network saying it was the best film of the 2000s.

MANK (2020) Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz, Arliss Howard as Louis B. Mayer and Tom Pelphrey as Joe Mankiewicz. NETFLIX

What is overwhelming about Mank is its rich storyline, building upon itself little by little and referencing the most obscure Hollywood easter eggs, which for the more advance cinephile may seem like a paradise. However, the average film enthusiasts may find themselves lost, searching google in hopes of connecting reference to reference. So Mank‘s biggest flaw is actually also its strongest point, a poignant and rich story that satisfyingly resolves and leaves you feeling full. There’s hardly a dull moment in this beautifully captured story.t Mank is currently streaming on Netflix right now, so see for yourself why Mank is being discussed as one of the best films of 2020.

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