“Mank” overcomes shortcomings with notable performances

Plank Article Jackson Sloat ’23

Directed by David Fincher and starring Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Charles Dance, “Mank,” one of Netflix’s newest films, tells the story of the creative process of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he creates the great movie Citizen Kane. 

The film’s acting is one of its better features. Both Oldman and Seyfried were nominated for Golden Globes and Oscars, and neither of them won one.

Oldman, who plays Mankiewicz, brings a subtle charm to his character, which stands out because half of the film is filled with his character either drunk or making extremely stupid decisions.

Seyfried plays Marion Davies, an actress who’s married to businessman and newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Davies enjoys a luxurious life with Hearst and was the inspiration for Susan Alexander Kane, a character in Citizen Kane.  

From the first encounter with Seyfried’s character, the audience already feels like they know who Davies is and why she wants to talk to the main character. 

Another notable acting performance in the film is Dance as William Randolph Hertz. While he played a more grounded version of Hertz, Dance’s performance still showed the power of Hertz and his power over others around him. 

The film was directed by Fincher, and his direction of the film was pretty disappointing. He is known for directing such movies as “Seven,” “Zodiac,” “Gone Girl,” and “The Social Network.” What makes Fincher a great director is that he makes his films extremely exciting and at the same time very visually pleasing to the eye. But in “Mank,” it seems like he took a break from this style. 

Instead of a film filled with fun and visually amazing scenes, we get a film that consists of only a couple of fun scenes, and just okay visuals. Overall, Fincher still does his job as a director, but I expected more from a director of his caliber. 

One of the highlights of the film was the use of black and white color for the entire film, which really made the film a lot better and allowed for a lot of really cool lighting sequences. By using black and white photography, the director paid homage to that time period in which movies were filmed in the black and white format. 

With quick dialogue and great acting, “Mank” was one of the better movies to come out of 2020. Probably not the best to come out, but it is still up there. I would give the movie “Mank” 3.5/5 stars.