Mank Image


By Alex Saveliev | December 9, 2020

Mank encounters numerous legendary figures, played with gusto by a talented cast: Tom Burke does an uncanny Orson Welles impression; Lily Collins make a 180-degree turn from her silly role in Netflix’s Emily in Paris and delivers a layered performance as Mank’s tragic protégé of sorts; Arliss Howard’s Mayer oozes both smarm and sophistication; and then there’s the great Charles Dance as William Randolph Hurst, charismatic and intense, representing the most callous side of Hollywood. Fincher’s skill in eliciting memorable performances, no matter how small, shines here.

MANK (2020)
Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz and Jamie McShane as Shelly Metcalf.

“…Gary Oldman…is electric without ever resorting to caricature…

The show, of course, belongs to Gary Oldman. He’s not an actor known for dialing back – save for a few choice roles – but here he is electric without ever resorting to caricature, desperate to be remembered, self-pitying, cynical, but undeniably captivating. Amanda Seyfried is Marion Davies incarnate, gliding as gracefully as only a movie star of a bygone era could. One wishes Fincher dug a little deeper into their heads; his decision to observe as opposed to analyzing pays off for the most part, but an intermittent glimpse would have benefited the film.

Mank does get bogged down in studio politics, several meandering stretches, and the aforementioned impersonal approach. Yet when the overall effect is this grandiose, when the soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – longtime Fincher collaborators – so perfectly replicates the scores of that era, when the screenplay (by the late Jack Fincher, the director’s father) is this sharp (“One never remembers one’s disasters; it’s considered gauche”), such nitpicks are forgiven. As Herman himself says, after all, “You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours.” In slightly over two hours, Fincher pays tremendous ode to the era and figure that inspired him.

Mank (2020)

Directed: David Fincher

Written: Jack Fincher

Starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Pelphrey, Arliss Howard, Tuppence Middleton, Tom Burke, Charles Dance, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Mank Image

"…Fincher pays tremendous ode to the era and figure that inspired him."

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