Director: David Fincher
Writer: Jack Fincher (Screenplay)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Pelphrey, Arliss Howard, Tuppence Middleton, Charles Dance
Plot: Follows screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz‘s tumultuous development of Orson Welles‘ iconic masterpiece Citizen Kane (1941).
Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Mank starts as we meet Herman Mankiewicz (Oldman) a renowned screenwriter in the golden era of Hollywood and after an accident he is bedbound working on his latest screenplay for Orson Welles, Citizen Kane, where Rita Alexander (Collins) transcripts his writing. We flashback to earlier in Herman’s career, seeing how his relationship with Louis B Mayer (Howard) will always put his career in rollercoaster, while William Randolph Hearst (Dance) loves having Mank around, with his daughter Marion Davies (Seyfried) showing us the difficulties of being in the Hollywood spotlight.
Thoughts on Mank
Characters – Herman Mankiewicz is one of the most popular screenwriters in Hollywood, his work has given him a reputation of being one of the best, but his drinking also making him the entertainment at a party and the fact he won’t just follow the secret rules of Hollywood, will see him pushed out of the spotlight. We follow two main times of his career, writing Citizen Kane and his career ups and downfall in a system that shows the political side of movie making. He does steal every scene in the movie, where he will always want to be the centre of the attention. Marion Davies is the star of the movies at the time who becomes friends with Herman, along with her father, she is someone who always wanting to see Herman and what he will do next. Rita Alexander is hired to help Mank finish of the screenplay for Citizen Kane, her husband is away in the military, she will need to learn with Mank’s turns when it comes to his drinking. Louis B Mayer is the studio head that knows the talent of Herman, but is getting tired of his behaviour, his power in the industry could cause more problems for Mank’s future in the industry. We meet many people who are in Mank’s life, his long suffering wife, his brother, fellow writers, the biggest player in the business, Orson Welles himself clashing with him, plenty of the characters from the industry.
Performances – Gary Oldman is brilliant in this film, he dominates the screen every single scene he has through the film, it is hard to go against anyone who doesn’t think he will be on the shortlist for best actor this year. The supporting cast are amazing too, never looking out of place, with wonderful moments from everyone through the film.
Story – The story here follows the rise of Herman Mankiewicz in the golden age of Hollywood, played along side the latest writing which has seen him put on the outside of the industry where he is placed after not following the system. This story is told in a way that truly feels like we are in the 1930s era of Hollywood, with the way that everything is told, the split timeline even makes a point to tell us we are entering a flashback and even the sound feels like an older movie. It shows us just how political the Hollywood system was in the 1930s too, where he literally had to follow suit or you would have been pushed out, with this showing us how Mank was given more chances than others too.
Biopic/Comedy – The biopic side of the film does show two main parts of Mank’s life, two that do come hand in hand showing the different moments that created the most important screenplay of his career, with the comedy in the film coming from how Mank treats each day, never being quite in control of the situations.
Settings – The film does an amazing job to recreate 1930s Hollywood where nothing looks out of place, with each location around the grounds looking like we are experiencing the journey.
Scene of the Movie – The tour of the grounds.
Final Thoughts – Mank is a brilliantly acted movie that pays respect to the 1930s era in style and storytelling.