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.
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
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.
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. https://t.co/uoCbJaLvLw
— Jen-see-you-in-hell Riley (@jenelleriley) October 30, 2020
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 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
“Mank” will release in select theaters on Nov. 13 and stream on Netflix on Dec. 4. Read more critics’ reactions to the film below.
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
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
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 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
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
As for Oscar potential — without a doubt. Across the board.
But lots to come between now and then.
Still, MANK hits in all the right places. pic.twitter.com/YDmUbQV5PK
— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) 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
MANK is magnificent (manknificent?). Snappy, gorgeous, funny, and unapologetically political. Looks and sounds like an old movie in an old movie house, with audio that seems to echo off walls that aren’t actually there. #Mank @MankFilm pic.twitter.com/pu1QiDzA5t
— Chris Evangelista 🎃 (@cevangelista413) October 30, 2020