Mank ★★½

My friend, the film critic, noted “Netflixpert” and Playlist contributor, Charles Bramesco, once summarized the conundrum of Netflix original films thus: “It’s where great filmmakers go to make their worst film.” This is, to be clear, not an airtight theory (and obviously subjective); for every few “Hold the Dark”s or “Land of Steady Habits”es, you can find a “Da 5 Bloods” or “Marriage Story” to effectively counter. But the underlying point stands. The streaming service’s much-noted hands-off production process seems to allow filmmakers absolute freedom to make exactly the film that they want—for better, and for worse—and as a result of this unintentional wheat-from-the-chaff separation, we end up with a fairly clear picture of who are the true geniuses, and who needs a bit more of a guiding hand. In this unpredictable year, few things have surprised this viewer more than discovering David Fincher may belong to the latter category.


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