Mank: A Movie About the Making of a Movie


Mank is a Netflix original that was released on November 13, 2020. The movie was honored in the 93rd Annual Academy Awards while being nominated for ten Awards but only winning two of them. Those two wins include Best Cinematography and Best Production Design.

Some standout awards this film was nominated for include but are not limited to, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Mank was written by Jack Fincher and was directed by his son, David Fincher. The two standout actors in this film are Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, both of which were nominated for Academy Awards. Oldman plays the role of the main protagonist, Herman Mankiewicz, while Seyfried plays the supporting role of Marion Davies. 

Mank is a biographical drama film set in 1940 that follows the brilliant screenwriter, Herman J. Mankiewicz, as he struggles to write Citizen Kane, one of the most highly acclaimed films of all time. He is given a deadline by the director of the film, Orson Welles, to finish the script in 60 days. As we see Mank write the screenplay, we see a glimpse into his past through various flashbacks, showing how his own real-life experiences inspired the characters and storyline of Citizen Kane. Through the flashbacks and the present-tense scenes, we see Mank’s own flaw, being an alcoholic. This film not only follows the history of Citizen Kane but also follows the history of the United States in World War II as well as some history of the state of California during the 1930s. 

Mank is a great film in nearly every aspect. To begin, the film was very well written. The writer, Jack Finch, did a great job tying in the plot of Citizen Kane to Mank’s life and his experiences throughout the film. He did a great job focusing on the dialect as well as this film takes place during the 1930s and 1940s, so the language then was different than it is now in the sense of mannerisms. Also being able to tie in the problems surrounding Mank with World War II and politics was a great addition to the film.

Jack Finch’s main focus throughout the film was being able to connect the experiences of Mank to his characters and the storyline of Citizen Kane. He does this through the large use of flashbacks and character development as Mank used his friends and their lives as inspiration to characters in his movie. The cinematography, which was in the hands of Erik Messerschmidt, was beautiful in the film, thus why it had won Best Cinematography at the Oscars. There were great camera movements, camera angles and it gave the illusion that you were watching a movie from the 1940s. That is also thanks to the great editing as this film was in black and white as well as there was that little bit of raspiness in the sound that is typical in older movies.

One of the subtle details in the movie is that a little black circle was placed in the top right corner of the screen at moments, which used to be a sign for theater operators to switch out the reels during the early years of cinema. That comes to show the little details that the director and editors add to films. There was also a great production in the film as all the movie sets were great, costumes were great and just the overall production of making a 2020 film feel like a 1940 film, thus winning the award for Best Production Design.

The actors and actresses were all great in this movie. Especially Gary Oldman (Mank) and Amanda Seyfried (Marion Davies). These actors had great mannerisms of a citizen during the 1930s and really portrayed their characters and emotions very well. Oldman especially did well as he had to portray a character who was an alcoholic. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the great directing of David Fincher, the director of Mank. He was responsible for all the decisions that just made this movie great. 

Mank is a great watch, especially if you are a fan of movies, or have seen Citizen Kane before. It got honored during the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. It did a great job of showing the struggles of writing a script for such a highly acclaimed movie, and the real-life experiences Mank had that ultimately contributed to the writing of the script. It was also great to see a movie that was released in 2020 to feel like a movie that was released in the 1940s. Mank had very positive reviews, receiving a 6.9/10 on IMDb and an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mank is an amazing watch that one can experience exclusively on Netflix.