‘Mank’ First Reactions: David Fincher Is a ‘Technical Genius’ With ‘Exquisitely Crafted’ Film
The wait for David Fincher’s “Mank” is not quite over, but the social media embargo lifted on Thursday night, allowing critics to give their first impressions of the director’s latest film. Nearly across the board, “Mank” received rave reviews from pundits, who praised Fincher’s directorial style, cinematography and cast, which features Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Charles Dance, Arliss Howard and Tom Pelphrey.
The film, Fincher’s 11th feature and first since 2014’s “Gone Girl,” follows the creation of “Citizen Kane” and the life of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, played by Oldman. “Citizen Kane,” regarded as one of the best films of all time, had a bumpy road to its release in 1941, and Fincher’s black-and-white drama examines the controversy behind the scenes.
“‘Mank’ has plenty to admire technically. Production, camerawork, sound & score are its strongest elements & the leading picks for the Oscars. This is the AP Film History course for cinephiles, likely to alienate some general audiences. Arliss Howard & Tom Pelphrey are standouts,” wrote Clayton Davis, Variety’s film awards editor.
Davis added in an awards column that Fincher will likely lock in a best director nomination at this season’s Academy Awards, and Seyfried could nab her first-ever nod.
“People always talk about Fincher’s technical genius but he also has a way with actors. ‘Mank’ is Gary Oldman’s film but every role is perfectly cast and maybe Amanda Seyfried will get the attention she deserves. Tom Pelphrey and Lily Collins also make the most of their screen time,” wrote Jenelle Riley, deputy awards and features editor at Variety.
Variety’s artisans editor Jazz Tangcay praised the work of Erik Messerschmidt, who previously worked with Fincher on “Gone Girl” and “Mindhunter.”
“‘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,” she wrote.
“Mank” will release in select theaters on Nov. 13 and stream on Netflix on Dec. 4. Read more critics’ reactions to the film below.
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