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Mank 

click to enlarge FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HEARST CASTLE Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) develops a friendship with William Randolph Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), in director David Fincher's Mank, now streaming on Netflix. - PHOTO COURTESY OF NETFLIX
  • Photo Courtesy Of Netflix
  • FROM HOLLYWOOD TO HEARST CASTLE Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) develops a friendship with William Randolph Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), in director David Fincher's Mank, now streaming on Netflix.

What's it rated? R

When? 2020

Where's it streaming? Netflix

David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, Gone Girl) directs this black-and-white period drama that chronicles the life of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour) during the development of the script he's most famous for, Citizen Kane.

The film starts in 1940, when a bedridden Mankiewicz, or Mank as his colleagues lovingly call him, is recovering from a broken leg and dictating the first draft of his Kane script to his secretary (Lily Collins), who quickly begins to detect its main character is scathingly based on newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. She's not wrong.

The film goes back and forth between this setting and flashbacks of Mank's various encounters with Hearst (Charles Dance) throughout the 1930s, including various dinner parties at Hearst Castle, where he starts to develop an offbeat friendship with Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried).

As a Fincher fan, I enjoyed Mank not only as a stylistic love letter to the Old Hollywood era but also as a much-needed reprieve from the gritty thrillers he's become most known for. And call me biased, but the San Simeon setting and Hearst history stuff immediately drew me in. It's fun to hear Oldman say lines like, "I took a cab from Morro Bay," or Seyfried rave about some gaudy picture house in Santa Barbara. Woo! (132 min.) Δ

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