Mank! I liked it!
Really hope this gets an eventual blu release as I feel, even with some quality streaming and setups, the digital recreation of pops, scratches and old-timey aesthetics would just get a little too compressed in the streaming landscape. gimme that vintage recreation uncut and unfiltered, baby. Let me FEEL the MANK.
I think there’s something to be said of the artifice of the attempts at replicating lost film traits like dust and scratches, reel changes and all the hubbub you’ve seen film nerds start debating over. If I’m being honest, there’s probably merit even amongst the blatant peddling of discredited accounts and straight up lies, but I don’t know how much of it was intentional.
The artificial accentuation of celluloid through digital adds this “What if?” quality. Like someone’s perception of an old film, not correctly articulated but imitated. There’s something to that, I think. An imitation of a lie as told by someone who believes they deal in harsh truths. It’s one of the only Fincher films I can feel torn, battling within itself for seeping into the virtuous battles of artistic integrity against a boogeyman concocted by ravaged critics and power hungry artists (a true egomaniac wouldn’t have shared screenwriting credit on a final cut lmao).
It’s odd to think of David Fincher of all fucking people stumbling into something, but given his closeness to the material (written extensively by his late father, Jack Fincher) it’s impossible to see it as anything else. Funny how the guy known for literally breaking actors with 100+ takes makes his most “personal” film completely blinded by his own projections of the creative process and how people in power utilize industry and social status. MANK is not directly an adaptation of Pauline Kael’s infamous “Raising Kane” but it struggles to fight the shadows of those discredited writings while the actual interest in the grander narrative (of which I’m not sure there are any accounts of either) build in the background, eventually becoming the foreground. The final scene in particular then diverts back to the original text and puts a pretty definitive staple on how these industries might destroy people. It all feels a little… familiar for someone of Fincher’s caliber. I’ve seen comparisons given to THE ARTIST, which I only disagree with because Fincher at his worst wipes the floor with that movie.
As for the technical precision, it’s Fincher! It’s good! Of course the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is great! Amanda Seyfried and Lily Collins in particular give great performances. Charles Dance and Fincher bring back the ALIEN 3 reunion ❤
So, MANK. I liked it! It’s also clearly Fincher’s worst and there’s probably something to be said about the time it took him to get another movie off the ground. The martyrdom of a tortured artist that still presents us with something gorgeous in its artifice, but never interested in expounding upon an actual truth. I’m overall positive on this and found it exciting to watch. Fincher’s craft remains among the best in the business for a reason. The worst think I could say about MANK is that it made me skeptical of anything else Fincher does in the future. I didn’t know he had it in him.