Bronze Label

Mank (2020)

8.0/10

The film “Mank” shows Hollywood during the 1930’s, but this time through the eyes of Herman J. Mankiewicz. Mank is in the process of writing “Citizen Kane” (1941) and it is this exact screenwriting process, and Hollywood setting that are the foundations for this story.

I had to think for almost two days how I would evaluate this film because it really feels like a film made for people within the film industry. Meaning that you might have to do some research after you watched it the first time. Only then the general, or mainstream, audience will be able to fully understand the historic significance of what is being said, and shown. Therefore I really advise everyone to watch this film at least twice. Yes, even people that are movie connoisseurs would benefit from watching it more than once because you need to be in a certain mood to digest this film.

One could argue that this film has too many barriers, but you have to give it multiple chances. I would say that the difference between a ‘bad’ movie and a ‘difficult’ movie is the rewatchability because a film like “Mank” will grow on you when you watch it a second time. Moreover, during the last ten minutes of the film I started to appreciate the entire plot. It was as if I was missing the final piece of the puzzle, but eventually I found it. Therefore don’t be surprised if you are bored, or find it totally uninteresting during the first hour or so. I would even argue that this film doesn’t care about the audience at all, and it doesn’t try to entertain us. It feels like a stubborn bulldog who doesn’t want to go out for a walk, but at the same time it’s very cute and loveable. You might not be interested in watching this 131 minute film more than once, but I really advise you to do so. Maybe have a glass of wine during the second screening and relax. 

Part of the problem was that I didn’t find this movie entertaining enough (initially). I expected so much more action, and intrigue. There is not much going on to be honest. I personally couldn’t really connect with the character of Mank, but the interactions between different characters were very amusing. Maybe amusing is too big of a word… Let’s use “interesting” instead. Anyway, once you get past these historical barriers you will find the story authentic, and hopefully you can come to appreciate this film. I think that this movie should be considered a Biography, Drama. Don’t know why comedy was also on this list but I have to agree that it tries to be funny. However, this should be considered “funny” in the same sense that a clown is considered funny. And within this story this is most often a sad kind of funny. 

So what about the acting, and directing? I think it’s ok. I didn’t see amazing performances, but it was alright. The choice to use this 1930’s filter was a decent choice because it made it feel more realistic. However, at times I thought that it was a little too much. Because it was almost like they were trying to convince the audience too much that this is an old 1930’s picture ( black que dots/blip/holes/marks). Technically speaking this is totally not useful as it would historically only appear towards the end of the film to signal the upcoming end for the projectionist. So my guess is that they used a filter for this movie that randomly places such marks on top of the film. Alternatively they tried to replicate the effect of dust or damage. This is something which is not necessary in my opinion because we know that this story takes place in the 1930’s (via flashback 1940’s). 

To be honest there is not much of a conclusion here. I think that “Mank” is a interesting film to watch, but others might want to skip this one. This film was really difficult to grade because I needed to fully understand the perspective of this film first. Therefore, the conclusion might be the following; if you can be patient with this film then go watch it. If you want to be entertained then look for something else.

Director: David Fincher. Writer: Jack Fincher (screenplay by)

Cast:
Gary OldmanHerman Mankiewicz
Amanda SeyfriedMarion Davies
Lily CollinsRita Alexander
Tom PelphreyJoe Mankiewicz
Arliss HowardLouis B. Mayer
Tuppence MiddletonSara Mankiewicz
Monika GossmannFraulein Freda
Joseph CrossCharles Lederer
Sam TroughtonJohn Houseman
Toby Leonard MooreDavid O. Selznick
Tom BurkeOrson Welles

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