I have an instinctive tingle in me noggin that Mr. Fincher was more absorbed in catering up a 1930s Hollywood antiquer’s dream funhouse than ushering all of Mank’s straining bits and pieces of “historical fun facts” to glide into classy fruition; running with your father’s surprisingly foxy and even periodically biblical dialogue to cast an investing image of political and economical philosophy is one method of devising a respectable motion picture, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee immortality. While this Netflix original, based on the birth of Citizen Kane’s screenplay, couldn’t even dare reach the dramatic heights of a wonted Fincher-rate narrative with its fickle pathing and truncated supporting characterizations, at least it nailed down its insight into the complex intellect of Herman Mankiewicz — writer of Orson Welles’ acclaimed 1941 masterpiece.
Mank is David Fincher at his most ambitious I’ve seen all century, but that’ll most likely make or break fans. Leave it up to a Welles-related production to evoke controversy.
“Mank” is now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.