1930s Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing wit and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish “Citizen Kane.”
You feel the Atticus and Reznor score as the film tells the tale of what happened to Mank and why he is laid up in bed with a bum leg. The early presence of the score and the cinematography do a fantastic job of setting you up to feel this era.
As we begin we see that Mank is a bit full of himself, and he doesn’t care to share it with the world. We weave in and out of flashbacks showing his flamboyant personality that is much to the dismay of those around him.
Next, we begin to build upon the story that Mank needs to write this script, as Orson Wells is expecting it at the end of 60 days. While the expectation is set, Mank making the deadline seems far unlikely.
At times, the black and white cinematography was breathtaking, and other times I felt like it was out of place. It was enriching of the era, but it struggled to pull out the best of what I was expecting.
The film’s political undertone was done in this discreet way that didn’t take away from what it was building but made it well aware of the issues at hand. Fincher brilliantly exposed what it takes to be within this world of politics and the money involved, and how power is king.
Although Mank is written as this somewhat unlikeable character, I grew tired of his aimlessly wandering around drunken schtick that we were presented with. I wanted to like him and what he was trying to accomplish, but he wasn’t worth rooting for.
The score is the absolute highlight of the film, and it carried it through some of the film’s dull moments. Atticus and Reznor provided the most challenging score they’ve ever done. The highs, the lows, the upbeat, and the tension… it was pure delight.
As our film begins to set sail into the closing moments, it comes full circle within the idea of how one man drinks his way through life. As he is shattering relationships and finally putting them in his place, he makes what is to be the greatest piece of writing he could’ve ever imagined.
In closing, this is Fincher’s least energetic film yet, and while certain aspects were sure to be challenging on the filmmaking side, it didn’t feel like his previous projects in terms of depth. In terms of the overall directing experience, this was very much in the middle of the pact for his films.
‘Mank is a stepback from vintage Fincher, and overall slightly disappointing.