David Fincher’s Biopic Mank - Netflix Movie Review

Updated: Jun 12

Mank is a movie that follows Hollywood screenwriter Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz from the 1930s and 1940s as he races to finish the script for Orson Wells’s Citizen Kane. Although Mank premiered in November of 2020 it has a past era aesthetic, with old school black and white cinematography. Who doesn’t love some nostalgia? Being based on, arguably, one of the greatest movies in American history it would have been easy to fall flat. Director David Fincher, based on a screenplay written by his late father Jack, did an outstanding job capturing old Hollywood.

Mank - Netflix Movie Review
Mank on the set

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Mank is a cinephile and deep-dive film historian’s dream. It is a retelling of how Herman

Mankiewicz came to write the revolutionary 1941 movie “Citizen Kane.” In the 1920s

and 1930s, Mankiewicz was a very successful, self-destructive, screenwriter in

Hollywood. In 1940 Orson Welles is allowed total creative freedom for his next project,

and that’s where Mank comes in.

Mank Netflix Movie review
Citizen Kane scene

By the 1940s Mank was a washed-up screenwriter, so this was a big deal for him. While he’s recovering from a broken leg at a ranch house Mank dictates to his secretary, Rita Alexander, who writes his story down. The Film goes back a forth from the present time to Mank’s life as a successful screenwriter in the 20s and 30s. Ultimately Citizen Kane is written, believing it is the best thing he has ever written Mank fights for credit for his writing.