Mank (2020)

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The film is a dramatization of Herman J. Mankiewicz and his
background leading up to, and of the circumstances surrounding, the writing of the screen play to Citizen Kane (1941). The story Is told in non-linear fashion, alternating back and forth between, for example 1930, when Mankiewicz supposedly met Marion Davies, to 1942, when he and Orson Welles won best screenplay Oscars.

The movie uses as a basis several actual facts: Mankiewicz did get to know Marion Davies,
then William Randolph Hearst through the writer Charles Lederer who was Daviesí nephew; Mank may have been a house guest at Hearstís San Simeon (although Hearstís rule of no one having more than one cocktail likely would have prevented Mankiewiczís visiting); he was an alcoholic; he did break his leg in 1939, and was later approached by Orson Welles to help with the screen play of Citizen Kane; and he and Welles did win Oscars for that screenplay.

Beyond that the filmís writing took quite a few liberties. For example itís not known whether Mankiewicz was a supporter of
the socialist Sinclair Lewis. The scene in which Mankiewicz staggers drunk into the dining hall at the Hearst castle and offends everyone, bragging about an upcoming screenplay dissing Hearst, until most get up and leave the table-- likely never occurred. Several other scenes strained credulity.

However most every other facet of the production was first rate: the acting, direction, cinematography, production and set design, costuming, etc. The editing was also tricky but well done.

But it was the writing --especially of the dialogue-- that bothered me.
Much of it was almost Shakespearean: perfectly formed unhesitating spoken sentences, even those expressing several conflicting thoughts. Mankiewiczís clever repartee, jokes, and zingers rolled off his tongue as if he were reading them. It was all too perfect. At times one could almost track the actors marching up to the camera seemingly with the invitation, ďOkay, itís your scene. Letís have your speech.Ē In other words some of the dialogue did not seem natural. In Mankiewiczís several drunk scenes, it made no sense that he could belt out perfectly constructed dialogue.Occasionally the picture felt nearly surrealistic.

Still, apart from some of the writing,
Mank is a top of the line effort, deserving of awards consideration, especially for Gary Oldmanís acting, and also for David Fincherís direction.

Docís rating: 7/10

I did not like this movie & had no particular interest in the subject matter.
Iím here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Thatís why Iím here now.

I liked the movie even though it wasn't what I was expecting...Not sure why, but I was expecting a look at the backstage machinations behind the making of Citizen Kane, which it wasn't at all.

I thought the film looked and sounded like old school Hollywood. Although it doesn't skimp on the dark side of Tinseltown, I felt like the film had some wonderful moments such as the stroll through Hearst's estate and the scene where his wife stands up to him. In addition, Oldman landed some solid one-liners and managed to reveal the humanity inside a not-always likable guy.

But I had some serious issues with the film. Oldman seemed like 15-20 years too old from the real Mank in the time period, particularly in the flashbacks. Once the script is done, so is a lot of the drama. Even scenes where it looks like drama might happen
WARNING: "" spoilers below
like when the typist is rehearsing what she's going to say to Mank after he callously dismisses her husband when he's lost in sea kind of fizzle out.

Plus, there are some clunkers like Hitler is, this passed the test somehow?

At the end, it's a lovely film to look at and admire. But I felt nothing on any part of my body. C

Rewatched this, which is bizarre for me, I usually take quite awhile to rewatch even films I really enjoy. Guess it's just so dense that it felt like it would reward a second viewing so soon. And it did.

I'll agree with the criticism--particularly on the second viewing--that it sort of peters out in the end. It's not immediately obvious that the two confrontations (with Welles and with "Willy") are meant to be the climax, exactly.

Anyway, it was delightful the second time, but I'm a sucker for well-written banter and turns of phrase, and this film's got tons of them. The genuine joy in wordplay and language is evident throughout.

"Posterity, my ass."
"From the original Latin."