Review: Mank

 An Ode to old Hollywood

Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) is an alcoholic screenwriter holed up in a remote cabin trying to finish the script for Citizen Kane. At the same time, we're told his decade earlier story through flashbacks.

David Fincher is one of my favorite directors and it's been six years since his last film. I had high hopes for this, I was willing to look past my dislike for contemporary black and white and how dull and washed out it often looks, but in the end. I felt the same way about Mank as I do about Citizen Kane

I made it through this entire movie only really caring about one character, which was Amanda Seyfried's Marion Davies. I could've cared about Lily Collins' Rita Alexander, but she's barely in it. Seyfried on the other hand lit up the screen. She's the fun in a film that has none anywhere else. I had heard going in that she also had a small part, so she ended up being in the film more than I expected, and that was very welcomed. I was also pretty impressed with Tom Pelphrey playing Herman's brother Joseph. I thought he was abysmal in The Iron Fist so it's nice to see that he is capable of giving a good performance. 

Like Citizen Kane, I feel this movie excels on a technical level, but lacks story wise. Mank doesn't really have a story while he's writing, it's all about the decade prior, and I started to get amused at how every scene change was clearly labeled "(flashback)" It's helpful, they didn't make any effort to make Oldman look younger than he does in the current timeline. Fincher manages to make the film sound like it was an older film. My husband hated this, I thought it was an interesting gimmick and I appreciate his attention to detail. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score sounds like generic 30's music, which I think the Academy will love but I found it kind of uninspired considering how beautiful some of their other work is. 

Overall, Fincher clearly has a lot of love for old school filmmaking and he shows it well. This film is for those who love that, but the story isn't strong, the characters are very thin (How is Oldman in Oscar consideration for this? Can we please not do Darkest Hour again?) and I think I just expected too much from Fincher, especially coming after something like Gone Girl. It's not a bad movie by any means, and it's definitely not Fincher's worst, but it's just here.

Recommended: Yes, parts are will worth seeing, even though I likely sound very negative in this review.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "And I hope if it doesn't, you'll forgive me." - Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried)


  1. I do plan on seeing this as I'm to upload Trent & Atticus' score into my iTunes in its abridged version. I do hope they release a physical version soon. Plus, I heard great things about Amanda Seyfried. It's funny that a few months ago. There was a virtual reunion for Mean Girls and wow, we all thought Lindsay Lohan was going to be the next big thing. Now, she looks older than my dead grandmothers while Seyfried and McAdams are doing phenomenal, Tina Fey, Lizzy Caplan, Tim Meadows, and Lacey Chabert are doing fine, and Jonathan Bennett... not so much. Lohan wants a sequel but I think it's a bad idea.

    1. Mean Girls definitely doesn't need a sequel. Lindsay really threw everything away with her partying. She could've been huge.

  2. I rather liked this for what it was, but I don't think there's a lot of rewatchability, and I do think it's going to get a lot of Oscar buzz whenever that happens.

    We disagree on Kane, which I think deserves its reputation. I rewatched it after watching this, and I think it hasn't aged a day.

    1. I know I'm in the minority with Kane, but when it comes to classic films that get that title, I'd take the Godfather over that.

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  4. For almost 80 years now "Citizen Kane" has been a ludicrously over-rated movie, just as Gary Old-girl has always been a ludicrously over-rated actor.

  5. I can't even.... I hated this. I can respect it for creating a movie that feels like it should have existed in the 40s/50s but that's about it.

    1. That's also where I land lol. Amanda Seyfried was the only watchable part.


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