Directed by Orson Welles, the old black-and-white film tells the life of media mogul Charles Foster Kane. Which was played by Welles himself.
The film's story, which is produced by RKO Radio Pictures, is opened by the word "Rosebud". Said by Charles Kane before his death. Which is a mystery and makes a journalist curious. Who then investigated.
The investigation into the meaning of "Rosebud" then developed into tracing the biography of Charles Kane. From the very beginning he built his business empire until he died alone in his house. The magnificent one is like a palace. Which he named Xanadu.
The figure of Charles Kane earlier is, in fact, a fictional character. However, many people believe that the gadun character composed by Herman J. Mankiewicz is based on real figures. Namely, William Randolph Hearst. A big boss of the media in America and a supporter of the Republican Party in the era of the 1930s.
In addition to presenting an interesting story, the film production process of Citizen Kane was also filled with various controversies. Which is full of intrigue and conflict between Hollywood parties, politicians, and mass media owners.
The true behind-the-scenes story of the film Citizen Kane was later appointed by director David Fincher in a film called Mank. Which was released on Netflix on December 4, 2020.
As the title suggests, this black-and-white film is told from the perspective of screenwriter Citizen Kane: Herman Jacob Mankiewicz. Alias Mank. In this film played by veteran Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman.
In Hollywood, in the 1930s, Mank was known as an articulate, highly critical, and intelligent screenwriter. However, the man who was born on November 7, 1897 also has weaknesses. Namely, likes to gamble until the debt piles up. Also addicted to alcohol and like to get drunk.
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In fact, Mank was often at odds with his own boss, Louis B. Mayer. Who is the owner of the film studio where he works as a screenwriter: MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) Pictures. Which, at the time, was one of the biggest film studios in Hollywood.
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In writing screenplays, Mank often uses them to subtly insinuate public figures he doesn't like. As a result, he was marginalized from the interactions of the Hollywood elite. In fact, Mank was unemployed because no film studio wanted to use his services.
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Until then, in 1940, Mank had a car accident and broke his leg. It was while he was recovering that he was blessed: He was invited to cooperate by Orson Welles. A young, up-and-coming 24 year old actor. To write the screenplay for Citizen Kane.
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Mank accepted the offer. With his feet still in plaster and unable to walk without being supported, he retreated to a hut. In the Mojave Desert, Victorville, California. To write the screenplay for Citizen Kane. Accompanied by a nurse and a typist secretary.
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Mank was only given 60 days by Welles to write the script. Initially, it was difficult and it went slowly. However, in the end, he was able to complete the Citizen Kane film script according to the set deadline.
History records, the film Citizen Kane was then a huge success and received a very positive response from critics. In fact, in the end, Mank (along with Orson Welles) won the Oscar for Best Screenwriter at the 1942 Academy Awards.
According to observers, the screenplay for the film Citizen Kane, written by Mank, is a subtle criticism of mass media boss William Randolph Hearst. Who often uses his newspaper to form public opinion. In favor of the Republican Party he supported.
In addition, Hearst also used his close relationship with MGM's boss, Louis B. Mayer, to make films that supported his political interests. Like, for example, the election for governor of California in 1934. Which, in the end, was won by the Republican candidate.
Mank's relationship with Hearst was, in fact, quite close. In fact, he is often invited to attend events held by these conglomerates. Hearst likes Mank because he is good at talking and tongues.
Therefore, Orson Welles considers Mank to be the most appropriate person to write the screenplay for the film. Because he wanted Mank to portray Hearst's character as accurately as possible. So that the media tycoon realized that Citizen Kane was a film about him.
Btw, for those who haven't watched the film Citizen Kane, before watching this Mank film, you should really watch the classic film first. In order to better understand the storyline and understand the relationships between the characters.
Meanwhile, for director David Fincher, this Mank film is, arguably, a fairly personal family project. Because the scenario was written by his own father: Jack Fincher. In the 1990's. Which adapted it from an article by Pauline Kael. The one entitled: Rising Kane.
The article published in 1971 raised the polemic about who actually contributed most to the success of the film Citizen Kane: Orson Welles, as the director and cast, or Mank, as the screenwriter?
Mank's name, you could say, is less popular. In fact, perhaps, many have only found out about it at this time. In contrast to Orson Welles. The former name immediately skyrocketed along with the success of the film Citizen Kane. In fact, perhaps, he is still known by today's kids.
Therefore, through this latest film, David Fincher seems to want to raise the name Mank who is less exposed earlier. He tries to show that the role of the rebel screenwriter is very important. Without Mank, perhaps, Citizen Kane would not have been a phenomenal film of its day.
In this 132-minute film, Fincher summarizes Mank's 10-year career in Hollywood. To be precise, between the 1930s and the 1940s. Starting from the beginning he met William Randolph Hearst, then wrote the screenplay for the film Citizen Kane, until, in the end, he won an Oscar.
In presenting Mank's story, Fincher uses a back-and-forth plot and flashback. The film opens with Mank arriving at his hut to write the screenplay for Citizen Kane in 1940. Then, the audience is taken back to the past. In 1930. When Mank met Hearst.
So that the audience does not get confused by the back and forth plot, Fincher always begins every flashback scene in the Mank film with script-style text. Which gives information about the time and place about when and where the scene took place.
The text presented by Fincher is indeed quite helpful for the audience to understand the story. What's more, the plot is also quite simple. Because this Mank film is not the type of film that requires the audience to think hard.
However, unfortunately, the storyline presented by Fincher is a bit slow. For an impatient audience, it might feel a little boring. Moreover, there are no dramatic scenes and plot twists in this Mank film. Because the story is in accordance with real events.
Fortunately, however, the film's shortcomings that are told slowly are masked by its eye-catching cinematography. Presented in black and white format, Mank successfully brought the audience back to the past through his vintage visuals.
David Fincher, it seems, does not want to bear in presenting old school visuals to entertain today's audiences. Mank looks really like a classic black and white film released in the 1930s or 1940s, but with high image quality.
In addition to the visual effects, the sound effects and music that underlie Mank's film also sound like scores in old-school black and white films. Ordinary viewers who are less aware, maybe, will think that Mank's film is really a classic film. Not a film produced today.
Besides the cinematography and sound effects, what also caught the eye were the performances of Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried. As the main and supporting actor in this Mank film.
Gary Oldman, once again, proved his qualities as a versatile veteran actor. Who can act as anyone. Including, playing the role of Mank. Which is almost similar to the original figure first.
Meanwhile, even though the portion was only as a supporter and not as much as Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried was able to look attractive as Marion Davies. A sexy actress from Hollywood. Which was famous in the 1930s. That used to be William Randolph Hearst's ridicule.
And, interestingly, the mystery of "Rosebud" in the film Citizen Kane was, finally, revealed in this Mank film. Which, it turns out, has to do with Marion Davies. The one played by Amanda Seyfried earlier.
Btw, with all his excellence, Mank is also championed by critics to speak volumes at the 2021 Academy Awards. According to them, the various positive aspects presented by this film should have been able to attract the Oscars voters.
Moreover, the director, David Fincher, has experience in producing many films that have been nominated for Academy Awards. Although, until now, he still has not won the Oscar for Best Director.
Before refining Mank, this psychological thriller specialist had already produced famous films.2010, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), to Gone Girl (2014).
Is it through this Mank film that, in the end, David Fincher will be able to win an Oscar? After the last time you were nominated for Best Director through The Social Network? We'll wait for next year.
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