Movie Review

'Mank' is a brilliant tribute to 'Citizen Kane' and its forgotten writer

This film about the descent of a gifted, self-sabotaging screenwriter is director David Fincher's strongest work in a decade

13 December 2020 - 00:00

In 1971 - the year of its 30th anniversary - legendary film critic Pauline Kael wrote a mammoth two-part essay for the New Yorker in which she sought to re-evaluate and recontextualise the success of Citizen Kane — the film that many still consider the greatest ever made but which destroyed the Hollywood dreams of its director and star Orson Welles.

Kael's essay, Raising Kane, looked at the way in which the film, through its thinly fictionalised portrayal of the hubris and megalomania of real-life publishing magnate and serious power-player Randolph William Hearst, sowed the seeds of its own immediate destruction. This was thanks to fears of retribution among the studio heads and stars of Hollywood's golden age...

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