“Mank”: Oscar bait at its finest

By: Collin Frazier

frazierc@findlay.edu

@Collin_53

A movie that is getting too much praise

With the Academy Awards right around the corner, something I have come to accept is that there will always be one film that tries way too hard to get nominations. Over the years, some of these included “La La Land” and “Green Book.” While I thought “Green Book” was a fine movie, it did not deserve the Best Picture it got. These kinds of films are what I call “Oscar Bait”. And the 93rd Academy Awards have their own Oscar Bait this year: David Fincher’s “Mank”. “Mankfollows the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz as he finishes writing Orson Welles’ masterpiece “Citizen Kane”. As the film currently holds the most nominations this year at 10, one would think that this film deserves all the praise it is getting. I am here to tell you that this film is only getting the praise because Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood.

My first issue with this film is that I failed to see how any of the flashbacks connected to the creation of “Citizen Kane.” For a synopsis that says Mankiewicz is racing to finish the film, I see none of this in the film. The majority of the film was Mankiewicz’s experiences as a Hollywood producer, but none of it felt crucial to the writing of the film. If a movie is going to rely heavily on the past, it better be important to the present, and this film failed to do so.

Secondly, some of the nominations it deserves I felt were not truly worthy. The first one was Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies for Best Supporting Actress. She was in the film for less than one hour and from what I remember, her dialogue was minimal.

Don’t get me wrong, some performances have little screen time, but can still be worthy of the Oscar. A prime example of this was Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs.” But Hannibal Lecter this was not.

Another one that I feel was not truly worthy was Best Sound. I did think that capturing that 1940’s film sound was interesting and certainly immersed the viewer in that era, but it wasn’t anything groundbreaking like “Sound of Metal” was.

My third problem with the film is that it felt extremely slow. It was constant talking with no memorable lines to justify the long talking. It was very reminiscent of “The Irishman in that it relied heavily on dialogue, another movie I felt was overrated. It was not until the very end, at which point my mind was made up about this film, that a very small portion of life was shown in this film.

My final issue with “Mank” is that I gave this movie a chance, and it let me down. I grew up loving Gary Oldman as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, so I was looking forward to seeing him play a man half his age. His performance was fine, and perhaps it does deserve a Best Actor nomination, but I think that other performances were better. Furthermore, David Fincher directed my favorite movie of all time, “The Social Network” (which also had the same composers as “Mank”: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). Unfortunately, I felt this movie’s direction was far different from his last movie. I felt so let down by this that I watched “The Social Network” just to remember what Fincher is capable of.

Overall, I figured out immediately that this film was only getting all the praise because it is a movie about movies, which is the Academy’s favorite film genre. This lifeless, boring trip about one of the most important films barely discusses the movie in question, and I was disappointed in it to say the least. Despite that, I still think it is going to win big at the Oscars, even though it does not deserve it. My rating for “Mank” is a 59/100.

Featured photo: Netflix

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