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Mank (2020)

Mank (2020) depicts the miraculous return of David Fincher, his love letter to classic Hollywood cinema. An era of cinema that deserves to be revived and relived by modern audiences and thanks to Fincher we get a chance to watch some of cinemas greatest moments play out on our screens. As a believer that the golden age of cinema shaped the movies we watch today, it is truly refreshing to watch a modern film try to capture the essence of the 1930s and 40s.


Mank (2020) sees 1930s Hollywood through the eyes of scathing wit and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish "Citizen Kane” with the close attention of fellow writer and director Orson Welles. Citizen Kane was released in 1941 and to this day is regarded as one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time so it is no surprise that somebody finally made a movie about the struggles and challenges that arose whilst trying to create it.


In this review I will avoid all spoilers and simply discuss what I enjoyed this movie and what I didn’t. To begin, the creative decision to make this film black and white was genius, disregarding the whole film this choice alone brings it into that time in cinema and changes the movie thematically. This choice provides atmosphere, tone, and visually providing stark contrasts and a dreamlike view of the world.


I watched this movie without having any knowledge of Mankiewicz or the struggles behind creating Citizen Kane and in all honestly I was lost, I felt very isolated as a viewer because I felt uneducated. So, I then went away, watched Citizen Kane, did a little research and revisited Mank (2020) a little later and I could breathe. The movie was a lot less intimidating and I could appreciate the craftsmanship behind it a lot more. In saying that a lot of audiences will be able to watch this movie only having a brief knowledge of Citizen Kane but being the movie buff I am, I had to make sure I was fully educated before judging the movies content!


Gary Oldman is sensational, like a fine wine with age he only gets better. Although there has been a lot of controversy in the film community regarding the ageist casting against women in this movie, it doesn’t change the fact that the cast all did a brilliant job at recreating classic 1940s actors. Of course though, I do fully agree that women over a certain age loose opportunities when men over a certain age gain more opportunities… I think it is completely and utterly insulting because these decisions are simply skin deep. Though, regardless of those issues with the films casting the movie itself was still beautiful to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This movie is defiantly being remembered for its appearance and aesthetic more so than its narrative or anything else, that may sound slightly dismissive but honestly I found I enjoyed this film for the accuracy of the period rather than anything else.


To conclude, Mank (2020) was a beautifully crafted story and exceeded most of the hype, being a lover of cinema and the process of filmmaking definitely encouraged my appreciation for this movies execution, if you are looking for a movie to sink your teeth into or a movie with a gripping narrative and lots going on… Mank (2020) is probably not the best fit for you. Mank (2020) is a slow burner, an enticing true story but more so a movie piece of art.

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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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