Even in the current situation of the cinemas being closed, we are still able to get our fill of new cinema, with both Sky Movies and Netflix spoiling us with some new releases that are of a high quality, have real star power, and are fascinating and entertaining in equal measure. One of the films that certainly lives up to all those labels, and is hotly tipped to win big in the upcoming awards season, is David Fincher’s ‘Mank’, which I watched at the weekend.
Mank is the story of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, and his role in writing the classic film Citizen Kane. Mank was recovering from a major car accident, and was also an alcoholic when he was approached by boy wonder Orson Welles to write what went on to be a film that still tops many greatest of all time polls. The film shows Mank writing the screenplay, but also reflects back to 1930’s Hollywood, and the people who will inspire the film, notably the newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, and his actress mistress Marion Davies. We see Mank’s warm relationship with Marion, and have to wonder why he was so harsh to her in his cutting screenplay.
Mank is a glorious flashback to Hollywood’s golden age, and has some splendid performances to recommend. Mank himself is played by Golden Globe nominated Gary Oldman in a performance that balances the driven, principled Mank with the drunken side of his character, making it a performance of real depth. I also loved Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies. She looks uncannily like the lovely star, and shows the warmth and charm that made Marion so popular with pretty much everyone in Hollywood. Charles Dance is also very good as the chilly Randolph Hearst, a man who oozed power from every pore, whilst the always good Lily Collins shines as Mank’s companion, nurse, friend Rita Alexander.
Mank is filmed in beautiful monochrome, which almost makes it a companion piece to the original Citizen Kane. I expect this to be a film that wins big during award season, and rightly so.