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Torgo's avatar

Torgo

Obvious hint: your viewing of Mank will be more fruitful if you've watched Citizen Kane beforehand or remember enough about the film and its background story especially. There are a few clear references. It will pay off even more if you're acustomed to the studio system, 1940s and the depression era and it helps to be familiar with certain figures of early Hollywood; but it shouldn't be necessary to enjoy the film.

Having watched Citizen Kane the same evening, I do have the impression that David Fincher succeeds in reproducing a 1940s look with wonderful contrast and lighting. From a technical standpoint, it's often marvelous.
Citizen Kane being such a technical and historically important masterpiece, but not very emotionally responsive, I felt Mank came off even at least as cold while featuring similarly volatile timelines. A bit like if Zodiac was a 1940 biopic, only less thrilling.
With such viewing experiences, I often ask myself if I failed as a watcher or the director failed to properly engage me. I'd guess a rewatch would tell and await other opinions until then.
10 months 3 weeks ago
gobberpooper's avatar

gobberpooper

There were so many good elements, put together without much cohesion. For one, the movie absolutely does not stand on its own. I don't expect how anyone who hasn't seen Citizen Kane could possibly care about this movie. It certainly doesn't give you a reason to.

It never leads up to anything. There's no real good placemarkers or turning points or anything. He's just alcoholic and writing and then out of nowhere the movie is done and he gets an Oscar. It's actually very frustrating how little mention there even is of Citizen Kane itself. So even if you have seen Citizen Kane, it's not that satisfying.

Amazing performances, just wish they were presented better.
10 months ago
baraka92's avatar

baraka92

Classic film lovers (like me) are going to love all the cameos and references, that go from Chaplin to Cedric Gibbons. But as a whole, the film is very uneven. Technically impeccable, as expected from Fincher, but this is one of his weakest.

The biggest fault is the lack of focus. I couldn’t say what the movie was about other than “these things happened to this person” (a common problem with biopics). Maybe it’s about the unromantic portrayal of classic Hollywood, showing it as the manipulative machine that was and still is. But that is just one aspect of the film. Overall, there's no momentum. The middle of the movie about the election takes too much time, and it finishes with something that feels like a true climax. But after that, there's still half an hour to go, and we are left waiting for something to happen, and when it does it's just Gary Oldman ranting bit by bit through the plot of Kane in front of Hearst. We already got the idea, we don't need that. And then, the movie just sort of stops.

The film’s biggest punches are reserved, not for Hearst, but for L. B. Mayer who is portrayed as a disgusting and massive hypocrite. But the former was the target in real life, so this made him look almost as a side figure when he was not. Weird!

After drunk and high Sid Vicious; and old and cranky Churchill, this felt kinda automatic for Oldman. He was good but nothing we haven’t seen before. My favorite was Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies. Finally she’s shown as the happy-go-lucky character that is described in all those documentaries. As for Lily Collins, "she's there" at the beginning, but pretty much disappears in the second half.

The scene headings were kinda neat at the beginning but annoying as hell after 20 minutes (and they never stopped!). Also the coming and going between time periods always ended up interrupting the drama.

Mank isn’t entirely bad but it feels like wasted potential.

And I don’t know if there’s ever been any serious consideration for the debate about the writing credit of Kane but in the end Herman got his credit and his Oscar. At the same time, what Orson did without Mank's input, is so big and powerful, that I think he's unquestionably the biggest force behind the movie (and after that, he kept showing that he wasn’t a fluke). Orson’s on-screen credit as director and producer in Citizen Kane is shared with Gregg Toland as cinematographer. I guess that shows the collaborator that Orson thought as his most essential throughout the whole thing. By the way, Tom Burke as Welles pales against the portrayals by Christian McKay and Vincent D'Onofrio. It would have been better if he was left off screen. Orson’s aura should have been enough but I guess the movie wanted to make a point by showing him as a petty man. Maybe Fincher should've given a writing credit to Pauline Kael.
11 months ago
lachyas's avatar

lachyas

A ploding bore. There's not even much about the Citizen Kane writing process, which instead of being used to drive the narrative forward is a mere excuse for countless meandering detours and vignettes which never build together into anything cohesive. The references are cute but also don't add up to anything at all other than sly winks to the audience. Oldman is... fine, I guess? It feels like he can turn in a performance like this in his sleep but at the end of the day it's a black and white film about golden age Hollywood so Oldman and the film itself will doubtless do very well at the Oscars.
6 months 4 weeks ago
floatsuit's avatar

floatsuit

The 30s aesthetic doesn’t totally work. It looks digital but the audio sounds authentic. If you aren’t in the know about all these people it’s extremely difficult to follow. Didn’t understand what was happening at all. I genuinely couldn’t understand 90% of Oldmans lines.

Oscar bait about the industry for the industry.
6 months 2 weeks ago
jakeindiana93's avatar

jakeindiana93

I came veryyyy close to giving up on this, but after about the first half hour it finds its groove (either that or we, the viewer, finally acclimate to this strange hybrid of 1940s movie talk with 1940s street talk.

PS: the Orson Welles portrayal is uncanny
10 months 3 weeks ago
boulderman's avatar

boulderman

If you're reading this you're a film buff. Great opening and listed of names and faces I recognise however.... It's sprawling and loses its way and will be difficult to follow for numerous m. A generous good rating 6/10
10 months 3 weeks ago
Caerus's avatar

Caerus

For the entire runtime I couldn't shake the feeling I had accidentally started 7 of a 12 part documentary about early Hollywood instead.

Characters and events repeatedly pop up without any explanation to why they are important or relevant to the story. Some vague connections can be gleaned from context but they are frustratingly incomplete.

I'm sure there's a good movie here if you are intimately familiar with the early studio system, but if not I've never seen a movie so incapable of standing on its own.
6 months ago
Earring72's avatar

Earring72

Stunning looking, well acted and a must see for movie buffs. But if you're not familiar with Citizen Kane or the studio system of the 40ies, than this will be a tough watch. My wife left after 30 minutes and their are slow spots and story wise not always very compelling…….but overall I enjoyed it
6 months 3 weeks ago
KaramAkerfeldt's avatar

KaramAkerfeldt

Just as boring as Shitizen Cane
7 months 3 weeks ago
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