Mank ★★★★

A fascinating and thoroughly engrossing portrait - and, in very typical Fincher fashion, a cynical take that's far less about the wonder and magic of moviemaking and far more about the manipulating power of propaganda wielded by those sitting in la la land's ivory towers. Genuinely surprised at just how inside baseball it is - there's a moment early on where a big to-do is made over introducing Ben Hecht in a writer's room at Paramount which I can only imagine will completely befuddle most families who stumble onto this while looking for something to watch during the holiday season. But who cares - why should that be a bad thing?

Probably makes a couple of missteps -- it's nowhere as anti-Welles as it could've been; like Hearst, Welles is less an active character in the story and more a looming presence in the background (although there's one particularly overripe scene near the end that even Welles agnostics will scoff and shake their heads at). No idea if it'll have the same kind of obsessive rewatchability that the best of Fincher's films have, but still - it's sharp, wicked smart, and beautifully constructed.