Release Date: November 13, 2020 (Limited Release); December 4, 2020 (Netflix)
MPAA Rating: R (language)
One of the best films of 2020 is Mank, a title which is short for the subject of the movie, screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who won an Academy Award for his work on the 1941 Orson Welles’ legacy film, Citizen Kane, widely accepted by critics as among the best motion pictures ever made.
Director David Fincher brings us an entirely entertaining film that is as much an homage to 1930s Hollywood and Welles’ style of filmmaking as it is a revealing behind the scenes look at the tension between Mankiewicz and those in his life, both personally and professionally.
Of special note is the stellar performance of Gary Oldman as Mank, who will undoubtedly earn another Oscar nomination. And Tom Burke is spot-on as Welles to the point that, although he does not have much screen time, he may earn a supporting actor nod for his role.
The entire supporting cast is terrific, including Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies and Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst.
Also worthy of recognition is production designer Donald Graham Burt and cinematographer Erik Messerschmid, both of whom taking careful advantage of the nuances of black and white filmmaking.
While Mank is no Citizen Kane, it is a compelling, interesting, and entertaining look at some of the struggles behind that timeless cinematic gem.