Mank ★★★

I can see why David Fincher wanted to make this movie, and I can see the value in it, but I'm just not sure if he's suited to sentimental material like this. I don't come to Fincher movies to feel the way he's trying to make me feel here.

Mank is a skillful tribute to 30s and 40s Hollywood, which effectively evokes the era. Mank looks, feels, and sounds like a movie from eighty years ago. Mindhunter DP Erik Messcherschmidt's gorgeous black and white work doesn't copy the era, it truly inhabits it. Jack Fincher's script nails the cadence and the cast nails the rhythm, and dialogue seems authentic.

I liked Mank best when it focused on Hollywood's involvement in 30s California politics, and least when it focused on the writing process of making Citizen Kane. There's too much of that which feels like constant winking at the audience, and frankly trying to follow in the footsteps of Citizen Kane isn't a great idea. Although Mank has ironically been nominated for more Oscars than Kane itself.

Exploring the media's role in clamping down on socialism, and how it dates back almost a century is fascinating. I knew Upton Sinclair ran as a socialist, but I had no idea how close he got, and I had no idea Hollywood got involved and knocked him down so hard. I'd rather just watch a movie about that.

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