If you love classic films, then you must have heard of "Citizen Kane" – which some argue was one of the greatest films ever made.
It won the Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1942.
Watch the trailer of "Mank" here
Although the Oscar was shared between the two credited co-writers Orson Welles and Herman J Mankiewicz, the controversy surrounding who actually wrote one of the greatest stories still remains.
'Mank' is David Fincher's latest film that showcases the life of Herman J Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), aka Mank, based on the screenplay of his late father, Jack Fincher, written back in the 1990s.
The movie portrays the Hollywood culture of the 1930s and 1940s, including major production houses, the financial crisis, and the internal politics of the film industry.
The movie starts with Herman being taken to a cabin to recover after breaking his leg in a car accident.
He receives a proposal from Orson Welles to write a screenplay for his next project. That very project was the inception of what we now know as "Citizen Kane".
Herman wrote the screenplay with the help of Rita Alexander (Lily Collins), one of the subordinates. As their work progressed, Rita understood that the play Herman was writing was not far from reality.
The characters he introduced in the story were inspired by some of the people he knew in his real-life.
The main character Charles Foster Kane resembled William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician. Herman also introduced Hearst's young wife as Susan Kane, resembling Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), an American actress, and Mr Bernstein, resembling Louis B Mayer (Arliss Howard), an American producer and the co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
This raised a number of issues in the industry, and many tried to prevent the film from being made.
The movie tried to represent Herman's important life events and how he battled his inner demons of being an arrogant alcoholic-gambler. Fincher focused on Hollywood's dark history - how the industry's big players managed to make their way into everything they wanted, including politics, and how the other stakeholders got affected through it.
The movie also portrayed Herman's realisations, and feelings towards the industry and its people, which played a big role in driving him to write a story based on those real-life characters.
The movie, however, will seem to be lacking in details for some of us, just as Herman himself said, "You cannot capture a man's entire life in two hours."
The movie may be set in the past, but it is a reflection of the present as well. The film depicts how the cinema world was struggling heavily due to the great depression at the time, the same way it is struggling this year for the coronavirus pandemic.
The most compelling part of the film is Fincher's direction, who tried to replicate the style of Citizen Kane. Shot in black and white, the whole movie is narrated in a flashback, just like Citizen Kane, and even the credit scenes at the beginning pay homage to the classic.
Fincher tried to recreate some scenes from that movie as well; for example, there appeared to be a lot of similarity in the scene where Herman drops a bottle from his hand while lying on his bed, with one of the initial scenes of "Citizen Kane" where Kane drops the snow globe at his death bed.
Some of the shots in the movie can be considered as some of the best shots taken this year. Of course, the direction was well complimented by Kirk Baxter's editing.
As far as the performances are concerned, all the actors painted quite an interesting picture of the 1930s in the frame. 'Mank' will definitely give you a classic Hollywood movie vibe.
Gary Oldman as Mank may not be his best performance, based on his acting in the "Darkest Hour", yet he puts on a great show along with the others.
However, I would have wanted to see more stories related to Orson Welles. Welles is a major part of the story but did not have much screen time.
Along with that, a little more background on Hearst and Davies could have been covered, which would have helped us understand the depth of the story better.
It is a well-written biography, and Fincher has done a pretty good job of presenting it on the big screen.
Those who are fascinated with American politics and Hollywood history will like the movie a lot more than those who do not have any idea about these things.
Overall, the film does have the potential to draw the attention of the Academy Awards.