It’s easy to admit that I am not the targeted audience for Mank.
I have never seen ‘the greatest movie of all time’ that is apparently Citizen Kane. Yes, the film is a biographical drama about Herman J. Mankiewicz, the writer of the famed Citizen Kane movie. But I shouldn’t have to see another movie to understand and follow this one. I believe a movie should be able to stand on its own.
The film focuses on Herman J. ‘Mank’ Mankiewicz, a screen writer bed-ridden and recovering from a car accident, commissioned to write a script in 60 days. While Gary Oldman was always going to be phenomenal with his performance, the tales of the politics and dirtiness of Old Hollywood didn’t do anything for me. Yes, the choice of filming Mank in black and white to capture the 1930s feel was admittedly clever, the costumes, hair and make-up are impressive, and it was nice to essentially travel back in time for a glimpse of what the film world used to be like. But for the most part – Mank is boring.
Mank arrogantly assumes that you already know who all the major players are and doesn’t take the time to introduce them to you. Then, when the narrative is done with their story arcs, it snuffs them out just as quickly as they came. Honestly, the only takeaway I have from this film is how grateful I am to not have been born during this era, and despite Hollywood today only starting to really grow and progress with the times and cancel its toxicity, it was a lot more toxic back then and we still haven’t fully rid of the filth.
If you are thoroughly versed with old Hollywood films and already know who most of the characters are based on, considering this is a biopic, then you may enjoy this. However, if you are like me and aren’t familiar with Hollywood in the 1930s, steer clear. You’re not going to have any fun with Mank.