‘Mank’ reviews: Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried deliver ‘towering,’ ‘sublime’ performances in David Fincher’s Oscar contender

The early reviews for “Mank” are coming in, and it’s already looking like a surefire Oscar contender. David Fincher‘s first film since “Gone Girl” in 2014, the highly-anticipated Netflix film tells the story of legendary screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his fight with Orson Welles to retain his writing credit for “Citizen Kane.” With sky-high expectations, does “Mank” live up to the hype? Let’s dive into some critic reviews.

As of Friday, “Mank” has a score of 81 out of 100 on Metacritic and a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is shaping up to be yet another Fincher film that is beloved by critics. Described as “a wonderful throwback” and a “bittersweet ode to a certain slice of old Hollywood,” reviewers suggest the film should appeal to cinephiles, especially with the film being intentionally made to look and sound like it came from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The cast of “Mank” is also earning strong praise, especially for star Gary Oldman as the title character and Amanda Seyfried as actress Marion Davies. Oldman is said to be “towering” as Mankiewicz while Seyfried is “sublime.”

However, much of the above raves could have been predicted just from watching the trailers. What’s more interesting to take away from these early reviews is Fincher not simply making a nostalgic movie but actually having something to say. “The movie delivers a complex and insightful look at American power structures and the potential for a creative spark to rankle their foundations,” notes one critic. “The film also serves as a political cri de coeur,” says another, “one that inspires as much as it dismays.” Read a handful of early critic reviews for “Mank” below.

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Brian Truitt (USA Today): “A wonderful throwback about a flawed figure who took on a hostile era in Hollywood with choice words and major chutzpah.”

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly): “The story then becomes less a forensic accounting of a masterpiece than a bittersweet ode to a certain slice of old Hollywood: part love letter, part cautionary tale, and still somehow a mystery.”

Peter Travers (ABC): “Led by a life-of-the-party Gary Oldman as the boozehound screenwriter of ‘Citizen Kane’ and a sublime Amanda Seyfried as a tycoon’s mistress, this funny and fierce landmark from David Fincher peels away at Hollywood’s Golden Age. The result is a gorgeous piece of cinema that ranks with the year’s very best.”

Ian Freer (Empire): “Shot in stunning black-and-white, Mank delivers Hollywood in a multitude of greys. Built on a towering performance by Gary Oldman, it’s smart, sophisticated, by turns thrilling and difficult, and amongst Fincher’s best.”

Eric Kohn (Indiewire): “Fincher has made a cerebral psychodrama that rewards the engaged cinephile audience in its crosshairs, but even when cold to the touch, the movie delivers a complex and insightful look at American power structures and the potential for a creative spark to rankle their foundations.”

Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair): “‘Mank’ taps into a vein of feeling that reaches farther than mere family tribute. The film also serves as a political cri de coeur, one that inspires as much as it dismays. In making a film that’s sort of about the making of another film, Fincher has many metatextual layers to work with, which he does with trademark precision and unexpected gentility.”

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