The first reactions for David Fincher’s “Mank” are in from film critics and journalists and they’re strong, although the script’s dense storytelling sounds like it won’t appeal to everyone. Netflix scored 10 Oscar nominations for Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” earlier this year across above- and below-the-line categories, and it seems like “Mank” could be heading toward double-digit noms as critics are raving about its cinematography, production design, costumes, and acting, notably Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried.
“Mank” marks a passion project for Fincher, who has been working on the project since before he made his feature directing debut with “Alien 3” in 1992. Fincher’s father, journalist Jack Fincher, is the credited screenwriter of “Mank,” although Fincher and Eric Roth spent time reworking Jack’s original script over the years. The film stars Oldman as Oscar winner Herman J. Mankiewicz and follows the Hollywood screenwriter as he attempts to get the “Citizen Kane” script finished. The supporting cast includes Seyfried, Charles Dance, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, and Tom Burke.
For Fincher, “Mank” marks a return to feature filmmaking after 2014’s “Gone Girl.” The director spent the interim working on several Netflix television projects, including the serial killer drama series “Mindhunter” and the animated anthology “Love Death + Robots.” Fincher and Netflix’s relationship goes all the way back to “House of Cards,” the streamer’s first in-house TV project that helped usher in the age of Netflix film and television originals.
“Suffice it to say that ‘Mank’ is dense, pleasurable and a kick (albeit a challenging kick) for anybody interested in Hollywood history,” writes Steve Pond of The Wrap. “I’s hard to imagine that ‘Mank’ won’t be an Oscars heavyweight. At this point I’d consider it a potential front runner in a number of categories, including cinematography, film editing, art direction, original score and maybe even picture and director.”
Pete Hammond of Deadline adds, “Expect nominations for Best Picture, Director, Oldman as Best Actor, a revelatory Amanda Seyfried in Supporting Actress as Marion Davies, Erik Messerschmidt’s stunning black and white cinematography, Donald Graham Burke’s Production Design , Trish Summerville’s luscious Costume Design, Kirk Baxter’s film editing, the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, plus makeup, sound, and visual effects. There are also possible Supporting Actor contenders especially with Charles Dance’s Hearst, and Arliss Howard’s wry Louis B. Mayer but they may be more long shots in a crowded year in that category.”
“Mank” will open in select theaters November 13 before streaming globally December 4 on Netflix. Check out reactions to Fincher’s latest in the posts below.
MANK: Exceptional craftsmanship and a strong turn from Amanda Seyfried, but also an obsession with picking and choosing historical bits that will likely rankle the very cinephiles it was ostensibly made for, plus more Upton Sinclair chatter than anyone would ever, EVER need. 🎥🍸
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) October 30, 2020
#Mank is a remarkable sight to behold w/ each shot so meticulously well crafted you’ll want to pause the film often just to stare at this thing. A frenetic & authentic throwback that classic film buffs will adore. Are you a lover of provocative Hollywood stories? This is for you pic.twitter.com/39N7fLOOv5
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) October 30, 2020
MANK is a peculiar labyrinth of a movie, a thrilling & unpredictable approach to deconstructing Hollywood history in its own language. No, you won’t get a definitive CITIZEN KANE backstory (& Orson emerges relatively unscathed); you’ll get a remarkable window into what it means.
— erickohn (@erickohn) October 30, 2020
David Fincher’s #Mank is phenomenal. Everything from the brilliant sound design to the amazing performances makes it one of the best films of 2020. Cinephiles are going to LOVE this movie. pic.twitter.com/WmmAvgIJGJ
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) October 30, 2020
#MANK is beautifully shot. Erik Messerschmidt’s cinematography is exquisitely lush and Trish Summerville’s costumes are fantastic. This is a craft-feast, and that score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is glorious. #MANK is exquisitely crafted and a visual delight. #OSCARS pic.twitter.com/h0FQOdFyyd
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) October 30, 2020
This is the AP Film History course for cinephiles, likely to alienate some general audiences. Arliss Howard & Tom Pelphrey are standouts. pic.twitter.com/FQAQa66iA9
— Clayton Davis (@AwardsCircuit) October 30, 2020
MANK isn’t really about the making of Citizen Kane; it’s how the Hollywood machine props up and quickly tears down. Superb screenplay and structure, a technical marvel and eerily relevant. Good performances all but Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey and Amanda Seyfried stand out. #Mank pic.twitter.com/mWawolXQyE
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) October 30, 2020
I love that David Fincher’s dad gets sole screenwriting credit on MANK (a good movie about how hard it is for movies to be good)
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) October 30, 2020
David Fincher is in fine form with #Mank. It’s dazzling & made for cinephiles. A sharp, smart critique of golden era Hollywood & evocative dreamlike homage to perfection. Seyfried is winning. Erik Messerschmidt’s cinematography, a lavish affair. Editor Kirk Baxter earns top marks pic.twitter.com/c6GsK2muN2
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) October 30, 2020
#Mank is the love letter to cinema we urgently need this year, and it’s anchored by another masterful turn from Gary Oldman, as well as a truly revelatory performance by Amanda Seyfried, who deserves every acting prize going. I adored this movie.
— Joe Utichi (@joeutichi) October 30, 2020
David Fincher’s #Mank is one helluva production. A smart, riveting trip to a bygone era. An exploration of 30s Hollywood, politics & ideals. Gary Oldman is perfect, Tom Pelphrey is impressive & Amanda Seyfried is wonderful. Photography is gorgeous, score magical. A love letter. pic.twitter.com/yRcQUKBVLl
— Fico (@FicoCangiano) October 30, 2020
And yes, the filmmaking style is a lot of fun, but it’s hard to sustain enthusiasm for that stuff for a whole movie. “Wait, *another* fade out! Whoa, it’s *still* mono!”
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) October 30, 2020