Mank: a death wish of a movie that could never live up to the legend of Orson Welles | David Thomson

Welles and writer Herman Mankiewicz created Citizen Kane through a titanic creative wrestling match – so Mank’s take is a feeble self-indulgenceWe are waiting in an age that believes in symptoms of malaise.

We wonder if we might be slipping.

The picture business feels dead on its feet.

So it’s easier to suppose that the new movie, Mank, was made out of a kind of death wish.

Does director David Fincher, or Netflix, really think that audiences are going to care about the California gubernatorial election of 1934, or pick up all the name-dropping the movie indulges? Why is it David Fincher if no one gets murdered? Why the screen time for Louis B Mayer, Irving G Thalberg and David O Selznick – middle-initial celebs the audience can’t place? And why has the demented project hired a 39-year-old actor, Tom Burke, to play Orson Welles, who was 25 in 1940, when it mattered?

Read full article