Network - 1976 - Dir. Sidney Lumet

Remember my stories about horse sex videos from my job with the smack-heads in Salford? Of course not! I must admit to this morbid fascination I have with such things. Just yesterday I saw some photos that convinced me I REALLY should get a bicycle helmet. On them internets there is also an old video of a man shooting himself live on TV at a press conference, them internets once led me to believe that this movie is based on the life of that man. Bullshipedia. After Scott mentioned it again in his 'watch these films or you're a dick' post, I finally got around to throwing it on and I'm glad I did.

Network. To be unaffected by this film is to be a vegetable! I was instantly unaware of anything other than UBS, a fictional television network populated by wicked characters and wry dialogue. At the heart of the script is an informed cynicism regarding the media and a sense of destructive rebellion personified by Howard Beale, the ranting evangelist TV host preaching a bible of realism and enlightenment in a period of recession, depression and discontent. The narrative itself is sophisticated and sidesteps nearly all played out conventions. The characters run the full gamut from the greedy and shallow to the mid-life-crisis-man caught in a web, there is no real protagonist.

A series of sackings, back-stabbings, re-hirings, relationship breakdowns and seeming mental breakdowns is punctuated with epic and profound monologues written and spoken so strongly as to leave it in the good company of David Mamet's finest work. With a lingering moral about the individual in all of us and our responsibilities to ourselves and those around us the scope of Network is epic and it's execution triumphant. The irony is a script so dialogue heavy is likely inclined to alienate the very dumbed down audience it's centre character rages against. Enduring social commentary at it's finest, I'm still buzzing from it. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

La Sporgenza said...

Not sure that's exactly what I said, but the fact that you got around to watching this little gem was worth all the shit I took for the original post. I'm half way through A Bridge Too Far but think I'll catch the rest in the morning. Lovin' it.