Truth and Movies

It’s Hollywood versus Hearst in the full trailer for Mank

David Fincher pits art against commerce in the story of Herman Mankiewicz's tragic downfall.

Words

Charles Bramesco

@intothecrevasse

In the event that you saw the teaser trailer for David Fincher‘s new film Mank earlier this month and thought to yourself, “Neat clip, but I wish it had that thing where a bunch of characters yell the protagonist’s name in different tones of voice,” then you’re in luck. Today brings the full trailer for the upcoming Old Hollywood period piece, and the word on everyone’s lips is Mank.

The trailer gives a fuller impression of the man himself and the story in which he’s landed, an obscure corner of Golden Age history in which art and commerce come to tragic blows. The production of Citizen Kane pitted screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (played in the film by a woozy, boozy Gary Oldman) against his thinly veiled subject William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), the famously vindictive media tycoon, a David and Goliath scenario with industry-wide implications.

Mankiewicz and director Orson Welles (played by Tom Burke of The Souvenir fame) grabbed the bull by the horns with their story of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper magnate methodically alienating everyone in his immediate vicinity with his greed, anger, jealousy, and immaturity. Hearst marshaled his considerable powers agains the production, which nonetheless attained the status of the consensus pick for greatest American film, though the controversy-courting Mank ended up a casualty of this press war.

As we see in the trailer, much like the character he brought to the page, Mank loses the support of his closest friends and loved ones; in his time of need, neither Orson, nor studio boss Louis B. Mayer (Arliss Howard), nor Mank’s assorted female entanglements (Amanda Seyfried, Tuppence Middleton, Lily Collins) come to the abrasive and self-destructive man’s aid. He descends into misery and drink, consigned to the footnotes of the ages while Welles ascended into the pantheon.

Moreso than the previous promo, this trailer shows the elements of Fincher’s visual style a bit more clearly, with multiple-exposure superimposed images haunting Mank’s thoughts like an aesthetic ghost while champagne cascades over a pyramid of glasses elsewhere. Even those uninterested with the minutiae of behind-the-scenes squabbles in ’30s Tinseltown will still be able to savor a meticulously labored-over piece of film craft.

Mank will come to select theaters in November, and then arrive on Netflix in the US and UK on 4 December.

Published 21 Oct 2020

Tags: Amanda Seyfried Charles Dance David Fincher Gary Oldman Lily Collins Tom Burke Tuppence Middleton

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