Mank: as David Fincher takes a look, in this film, at the writing process that led to the classic Citizen Kane, he is also turning his eyes towards the power of giant media corporations and how they can spread disinformation and affect political processes. Naturally, since Kane already did that, and that seems as relevant today as it was in 1941. Its hard-hitting theme is not the only thing that informs Fincher, however; the old-school aesthetics (inspired by other works of the time) and the non-linear structure (more a gentle nod to Kane than a full-on attempt to emulate) do as well. The film may not be strictly true, and at times be somewhat emotionally distant, but it’s a very entertaining ride on top of its thematic importance. The title character, a talented, abrasive, progressive drunkard, is interesting, and we see what makes him tick. The dialogue sparkles and its reading, by the whole cast (too many to list individually), is extremely good, top to bottom. Gary Oldman’s performance as Mank is great. Amanda Seyfried is quite good as Marion Davies, a crucial character in the story, mixing film star looks and charm with some hidden melancholy. The film looks great, starting with cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt’s elegant, precise, high-contrast black-and-white images. The production design, by Donald Graham Burt, is lush, varied, and detailed. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ musical score is a thing of beauty.
Read also: Citizen Kane