Any person who describes themselves as a movie fan has, at the very least, heard of Citizen Kane, if not seen Orson Welles’ long-heralded flick one or more times. But how many of you know about the behind-the-scenes events that unfolded during the making of Citizen Kane? Netflix’s upcoming movie Mank sheds some light on that, specifically chronicling screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz’s numerous clashes with Welles.
Directed by David Fincher and starring Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance and Lily Collins, to name a few, Mank is one of the last big Netflix movies to come out before 2020 is over. While sNetflix subscribers still have a month to wait before getting to watch Mank, reviews for the movie are now flowing in, and it looks like the streaming service has another bonafide hit on its hands.
To kick things off, CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg awarded Mank a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars in his review, saying that the movie “paints a fascinating portrait of a fascinating man” and, despite being written long ago by David Fincher’s late after Jack Fincher, is arguably more relevant than ever now. Eric also commended Fincher for the stylistic choice to shoot in black-and-white, and was impressed by the cast’s performances, particularly Gary Oldman’s turn as the eponymous character.
It’s as smart as it is beautiful, and as captivating as it is enlightening. It’s one of David Fincher’s finest works, and unquestionably one of the best of 2020.
Lindsey Behr from Associated Press also thoroughly enjoyed Mank, giving it her own perfect score of 4 out of 4. Behr acknowledged that the movie asks more questions then it ends up answering, but that doesn’t take away from the overall story. Along with complimenting Gary Oldman’s performance, Behr also highlighted Amanda Seyfried’s work as actress Marion Davies.
It's simply telling a story about a man behind so many of our movie memories and making a new one in the process. And it is, without a doubt, one of the year's very best.
While not quite as enamored with Mank as our last two reviewers, Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt is still among its supporters, giving the movie a B+ grade. In Greenblatt’s mind, Mank “never quite cracks is the machinery of the creative process,” specifically when it comes to Herman Mankiewicz’s writing, but it’s nonetheless an interesting exploration of Golden Age Hollywood.
The story then becomes less a forensic accounting of a masterpiece than a bittersweet ode to a certain slice of old Hollywood: part love letter, part cautionary tale, and still somehow a mystery.
Brian Truitt from USA Today stamped Mank with a 3.5 out of 4 score, saying how one doesn’t need to be “a Turner Classic Movies devotee” to enjoy what David Fincher pulls off. The flipping between timelines “succeeds in some places and loses the film’s focus in others,” but Mank manages to reflect current times rather well.
… A wonderful throwback about a flawed figure who took on a hostile era in Hollywood with choice words and major chutzpah.
Finally, Empire’s Ian Freer showed his approval for Mank by giving it 5 out of 5 stars, calling it a “a clear-eyed, warts ’n’ all love letter to Hollywood” that does a tremendous job of following two different points in Herman Mankiewicz’s career and wonderfully taps into “contemporary concerns” as it follows the process of putting Citizen Kane together.
Shot in stunning black-and-white, Mank delivers Hollywood in a multitude of greys. Built on a towering performance by Gary Oldman, it’s smart, sophisticated, by turns thrilling and difficult, and amongst Fincher’s best.
Whether you’re now interested in checking out Mank or are even more eager to watch it than before, get a taste of what the movie will have to offer by watching the trailer below.
Netflix subscribers can judge Mank for themselves when it drops there on December 4, although the movie will also have a limited theatrical release starting November 13, so check your local listings to learn if Mank will play on a big screen near you. Keep track of what’s hitting Netflix this month with our detailed lineup.