David Fincher transports viewers to a bygone Hollywood in the Mank trailer

The director’s first feature film in six years tells the story of how Citizen Kane was written.


Charles Bramesco


We the David Fincher faithful have gone months and months with little more intel on his latest film Mank than a vague plot synopsis and, as of a few weeks ago, a handful of still images. At last, the floodgates have been opened, and the patient are now rewarded with an eyeful of the film’s gorgeous first trailer.

Styled like a Golden Age sizzle reel, the clip lays out the conflict between the two creators of Citizen Kane: famed director Orson Welles (played by Tom Burke, recently of The Souvenir) and screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). Their disputed parentage of this hit film’s script tears the men apart, and leads to ruin for Mank as Welles goes on to one of the most illustrious careers in Hollywood history.

The trailer goes light on exposition, instead flitting through a series of images free of context – we see Mank laid up in bed, drunkenly stumbling around the backlot, generally making a spectacle of himself and sabotaging his own career. A couple of shots directly evoke the photography of Citizen Kane, in particular the image of the bottle falling from Mank’s hand like the snow globe from Charles Kane’s in his dying moments.

The production’s commitment to the old-timey style permeates the entire trailer, which begins with a vintage MPAA title card and even dresses streaming giant Netflix up to mimic the logo of studio RKO. Anticipate much discussion of the friction created between Fincher’s fidelity to the era he’s evoking, and the streakless clean finish of the digital cameras he uses.

For reasons currently unclear, Netflix has also cut a second, slightly longer trailer for release on Reddit, hotbed of Fincher fandom that it is. In the alternate clip, we get a better view of Lily Collins as Mank’s late-in-life nurse.

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

Published 8 Oct 2020

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

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