418 user 274 critic

Mank (2020)

1:01 | Trailer
1930's Hollywood is reevaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941).


David Fincher


Jack Fincher (screen play by)
78 ( 33)
Nominated for 6 Golden Globes. Another 33 wins & 182 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Herman Mankiewicz
Amanda Seyfried ... Marion Davies
Lily Collins ... Rita Alexander
Tom Pelphrey ... Joe Mankiewicz
Arliss Howard ... Louis B. Mayer
Tuppence Middleton ... Sara Mankiewicz
Monika Gossmann ... Fraulein Freda
Joseph Cross ... Charles Lederer
Sam Troughton ... John Houseman
Toby Leonard Moore ... David O. Selznick
Tom Burke ... Orson Welles
Charles Dance ... William Randolph Hearst
Ferdinand Kingsley ... Irving Thalberg
Jamie McShane ... Shelly Metcalf
Jack Romano ... Sid Perelman


1940. Film studio RKO hires 24-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles under a contract that gives him full creative control of his movies. For his first film, he calls in washed-up alcoholic Herman J Mankiewicz to write the screenplay. That film is "Citizen Kane," and this is the story of how it was written. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


David Fincher admitted to Total Film that his preference for shooting multiple takes "exhausted" his leading man Gary Oldman in the beginning of production, adding, "I'm fairly didactic about, 'These are the things that the scene needs to accomplish for me, and we will continue to play, to look for ways to underline these ideas that are as subtle as we can make them.'" Fincher continued, "It's a hard thing to say to actors, 'I want a cohesive, great performance in the master [shot]'. "And then, 'I want a cohesive, great performance in the alternate master.' And then, 'I want a cohesive, great performance in the over-the-shoulder. And I want a cohesive, great performance in his over-the-shoulder on to you. And I want the singles.' Because I don't want to cut a scene based on where you are at personally on Tuesday. I don't think I could go into the edit room knowing that I was going to have to cut around somebody who didn't deliver. Part of it is you cast really great people and get the fuck out of the way." See more »


Lily Collins character is supposed to be English, but she cites the Battle of Hastings as "14 October 1066". A real English person would, even today, say "14th of October 1066". See more »


Louis B. Mayer: This is a business where the buyer gets nothing for his money but a memory. What he bought still belongs to the man who sold it. That's the real magic of the movies. And don't let anybody tell you different.
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Crazy Credits

The Netflix logos at the beginning and end are in full color, despite the film being in black and white. See more »


(If Only You Could) Save Me
Music & Lyrics and Produced by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
Vocals by Adryon de León
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User Reviews

Solid slice of early film history
21 November 2020 | by bastille-852-731547See all my reviews

I'm a huge fan of both "Citizen Kane" as well as David Fincher's films, so I was extremely excited to see this. Because of how much I enjoy Fincher's films as well as how good the trailers looked, I wanted to (safely) see it on a big screen rather than wait until Netflix. Needless to say, this is a good movie, but not a great one--and it does not quite live up to the quality one would expect from a Fincher film.

The story focuses on Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman,) the screenwriter who worked--often tempestuously--with Orson Welles to write "Citizen Kane." However, the amount of time the film spends on material related to "Citizen Kane" is relatively little. Instead, the film tends to focus more on Mank's political activity, personal life, ascent into the movie business, and alcoholism throughout the 1930s. Oldman does a good job playing Mank, and is completely believable in the role. As one can expect from a Fincher film, the editing and cinematography are top-notch. The stylish, black-and-white aesthetic that feels both slightly understated (in the best way possible) and posh is beautifully complemented by a relatively steady camera and editing techniques common to films of the 1930s and 40s. The screenplay is generally well-written as well, although it doesn't feel as taut as you would expect in a Fincher picture, and the leisurely pacing is very well done.

Despite these strong qualities, "Mank" unfortunately is not quite great. The film develops Mank as a character, but he is portrayed in too static of a manner to really make for an engaging protagonist, or even one that can simply have clear ripple effects on the rest of the film's narrative and the characters around him. His characterization is not especially interesting. Fincher probably uses flashbacks a bit too much in the story, as many of the flashbacks to the early 1930s don't do too much to provide additional context to Mank as a character or the time period as a whole. Also, the supporting characters (such as the roles played by Amanda Seyfried and Lilly Collins) are not especially well-developed. As a result, the film doesn't completely work as a character study. However, it is still a generally well-acted and well-shot depiction of early film history that is worth seeing for viewers interested in the subject matter. 7/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:





English | German | Latin

Release Date:

4 December 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mank See more »

Filming Locations:

Victorville, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Netflix See more »
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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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