Thursday, March 24, 2011

We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.

No 100 - Network
Director - Sidney Lumet

Bloody hell, one entry a week! I'm being rubbish beyond belief at the mo! Must pick up the pace here or I'll never finish the list.

Network is an interesting film - It is probably one of the blackest of black comedies I have ever seen, to the extent that for a lot of it I wasn't sure whether it WAS a comedy or not.... I have also lost my notes for it so will go from what i remember.

What I mostly remember is Peter Finch's incredible performance as Howard Beale. A man who's complete mental breakdown is manipulated and broadcast to the masses. It seems strangely topical, as I couldn't help but watch his impassioned rants without thinking how eerily reminiscent it was of similar situation happening right now:

Beale remains an amazing and captivating character. His rants are amazing and clearly the highlight of the film.

All of the film's great moments stem from these rants. We see the TV companies not knowing how to react. On one level he is breaking all the rules of the TV Network... on the other hand he is getting ratings. Massive ratings.

And this is where the dark comedy comes into play. As one man's life, and fragile mental state, is massively abused and manipulated just for ratings.
The show gets more elaborate, the show's budget gets higher.... but the rants stay the same. And it is that performance that keeps us watching.

Oh sure.... there are some other things.

Robert Duvall is a bad man who plays god over TV

William Holden has an affair with Faye Dunaway - a character who is hilariously unable to view anything without putting it into a TV Synopsis

There is some political thing going on that seems pointless for most of the film and still only feels like it was a tacked on subplot to make the ending work.

But if you compare them to the central story of Beale.... they just merge into annoying distractions keeping Peter Finch off the screen.

For a film which manages to paint a brilliant, scathing picture of Television. And for one of the best breakdowns I've seen in film, Network is DEFINITELY worth a watch