‘Mank’ First Reactions: David Fincher’s Return Is ‘Brilliant,’ ‘Dense,’ and ‘an Oscars Heavyweight’

The first reactions for David Fincher’s “Mank” are in from film critics and journalists and they’re strong, although the script’s dense storytelling sounds like it won’t appeal to everyone. Netflix scored 10 Oscar nominations for Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” earlier this year across above- and below-the-line categories, and it seems like “Mank” is could be heading towards a double-digit nom total as critics are raving about its cinematography, production design, costumes, and acting, notably Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried.

“Mank” marks a passion project for Fincher, who has been working on the project since before he made his feature directing debut with “Alien 3” in 1992. Fincher’s father, journalist Jack Fincher, is the credited screenwriter of “Mank,” although Fincher and Eric Roth spent time reworking Jack’s original script over the years. The film stars Oldman as Oscar winner Herman J. Mankiewicz and follows the Hollywood screenwriter as he attempts to get the “Citizen Kane” script finished. The supporting cast includes Seyfried, Charles Dance, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, and Tom Burke.

For Fincher, “Mank” marks a return to feature filmmaking after 2014’s “Gone Girl.” The director spent the interim working on several Netflix television projects, including the serial killer drama series “Mindhunter” and the animated anthology “Love Death + Robots.” Fincher and Netflix’s relationship goes all the way back to “House of Cards,” the streamer’s first in-house TV project that helped usher in the age of Netflix film and television originals.

“Suffice it to say that ‘Mank’ is dense, pleasurable and a kick (albeit a challenging kick) for anybody interested in Hollywood history,” writes Steve Pond of the The Wrap. “I’s hard to imagine that ‘Mank’ won’t be an Oscars heavyweight. At this point I’d consider it a potential front runner in a number of categories, including cinematography, film editing, art direction, original score and maybe even picture and director.”

Pete Hammond of Deadline adds, “Expect nominations for Best Picture, Director, Oldman as Best Actor, a revelatory Amanda Seyfried in Supporting Actress as Marion Davies, Erik Messerschmidt’s stunning black and white cinematography, Donald Graham Burke’s Production Design , Trish Summerville’s luscious Costume Design, Kirk Baxter’s film editing, the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, plus makeup, sound, and visual effects. There are also possible Supporting Actor contenders  especially with Charles Dance’s Hearst , and Arliss Howard’s wry Louis B. Mayer but they may be more long shots in a crowded year in that category.”

“Mank” will open in select theaters November 13 before streaming globally December 4 on Netflix. Check out reactions to Fincher’s latest in the posts below.

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