Mank (2020, David Fincher) Review

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by thing, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. thing

    thing Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2004
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    New Zealand
    David Fincher finally returns to film with a passion project of his fathers, who write this film based on a discredited article about the authorship of Citizen Kane. The film follows parts of the life of screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz mostly around the time he was writing Citizen Kane and including many flashbacks to points in the prior decade. The film is also shot in the style of how films were made back then and effectively so as it does look like a 1940's film.
    I was looking forward to this one quite a bit but was pretty disappointed. Firstly the dialogue is mixed too low and without any sonic breadth, rendering maybe 30% or more o f the spoken word inaudible, The film is also constantly under lit, so whilst I was straining my ears to hear, I was also straining my eyes to see. A few tweaks could have fixed these problems but whilst those points were both annoying, it s the script that does not work as a whole.
    The script has some good parts, particularly in the second half but feels very bits and pieces rather than a fleshed out story. The first half of the film is really quite a trudge and I think the subject matter deserved more.
    It's not all bad though, the period detail is all as great as expected and the performances are top flight all around. I would not be surprised to see nominations for Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried or Charles Dance.
    In the end we are left with smart looking (though too dark) film with a script that does not live up to the promise of the material. The second half was much more enjoyable and I would say that all film history lovers should at least check it out for themselves.

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