“Mank”: David Fincher is back with a Netflix movie written by the late father
What does a genius do? The debate takes place in black and white in David Fincher’s new film.
David Fincher’s new film came to Netflix.
With a generic from other times, in black and white, David Fincher introduces us in “Mank”. It’s 1940 when we meet a bedridden (and finished) Herman J. Mankiewicz. Shortly afterwards, the phone is passed on to him. And on the other side of the line we heard Orson Welles.
Welles, Fincher explains immediately, is the character they have given full creative leeway to work in Hollywood. His feature film debut in the Mecca of cinema will be a bang that will reverberate 80 years later. “Citizen Kane” (“The World at Your Feet” in the Portuguese title) was released in 1941 and remains a strong contender to this day, entering the eternal discussion of what will be the best movie of all time.
Gary Oldman has been hired to play the role of the other genius from “Citizen Kane” so often ignored in this story: Herman J. Mankiewicz. He’s the man of the title, an interesting choice if we think there was a disagreement between Welles and Mank over who wrote what of the masterpiece.
This Friday, December 4th, we finally have the chance to see a Fincher feature film. It was a long wait: six years have passed since “Em Parte Incerta”. Fincher’s return is on Netflix and with this curiosity to take us to the golden age of Hollywood via the streaming platform (which rocked today’s Hollywood).
“Mank” is an old love from Fincher, who also dated the idea a long time ago to film in black and white. And it’s certainly from the projects with something more personal for him – the argument comes from Jack Fincher, the director’s father, who passed away in 2003. It is also the only script the writer and essayist has ever signed that recovers a debate almost as old as art: where does genius come from?
Gary Oldman plays a screenwriter for Citizen Kane.
Virtually everything that stands out in Citizen Kane has been attributed to Orson Welles. However, this thesis has long been debated among critics and Hollywood historians. The genius may not be a single man who, with his talent, can have the world at his feet. Maybe it’s a combination of factors – and talent.
“Mank” is therefore an opportunity for Fincher to venture into the myth of genius and the golden age of Hollywood. To achieve this, he manages to pay tribute to this classic film. “Citizen Kane” started with the death of the protagonist and we tried to understand what his last word “Rosebud” was in an investigative mode.
Here we start at the moment the script starts writing and go back a little bit in time. There’s a detective page here that is coming out as well. It is no coincidence: the thriller is one of the hallmarks of the director (“Zodiac”, “Seven: 7 Deadly Sins”), who manages to introduce tension, even if we did not expect this at first glance (as for example with “The Network”) Social “).
It’s also easy to see what Fincher saw in Mankiewicz: it’s unpredictable, alcoholic, as unreliable as it is surprising. Brands that we honestly find in other geniuses celebrated by the arts. Welles fans may not like the way the director (played by Tom Burke) is portrayed here, however.
In “Mank”, Fincher doesn’t just seem to want to change his mind about Hollywood’s golden age. He is also interested in the dynamics and context of that time. It’s a look at the past of 2020 that has more acidity than nostalgia. Interestingly, but certainly not by accident, it also appears to be one of Netflix’s strongest bets on next year’s Oscars.
In addition to Gary Oldman and Tom Burke, there are just over two hours of film in the cast with names such as Amanda Seyfried, Tuppence Middleton or Lily Collins. Before you hit play, watch the trailer.