Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Network [1976]


Considered among the best works of the revered American filmmaker Sidney Lumet, Network was a prescient, tar-black critique of “trash television” and thus remains as relevant today as it was over three decades back. When a veteran news reader learns that he’s about to lose his job of 25 years, he falls off the hook and becomes the “mad prophet of the TV airwaves”. He initially creates embarrassment for his employers, however the tremendous ratings his prophetic slogan, “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!” generates ensures he doesn’t just retain his prime-time show, a whole lot of crap gets added around him to spin as much money out of his sudden fame as possible. This trenchant satire is filled to brim with a host of superb performances – Peter Finch was absolutely terrific as Howard Beale, the tragic newsman who becomes a messiah for the troubled times and a mouthpiece for the generation’s angst; equally memorable turns were provided by William Holden as Beale’s long-time friend who’s forced to accept the madness around him with sardonic resignation, Faye Dunaway as a workaholic and insanely ambitious programming executive, Robert Duvall as the network’s scheming hatchet man, among others. Though the brilliantly written film divided critics and audience upon its release, its scathing indictment of all the lurid content religiously dished into our homes by the idiot box has elevated it over the years to the status of a modern day classic.








Director: Sidney Lumet
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Media Satire
Language: English
Country: US

12 comments:

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Jonny said...

Shubhajit, you're right it is as relevant today as ever. This one totally presages the whole reality TV phenomenon as well. Lumet was a great American filmmaker who always managed to get the best out of his actors. When you think of his films, you think of brilliant, even career best performances in some cases from his actors. His passing earlier this year definitely saddened me, but reminded me also of how many great films he had. Very nice review.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Jonny my friend for your appreciation. I can't explain how much I appreciate your regularly stopping by my humble site and posting your opinions & points of view.

Yes, I too was saddened by Lumet's death. It certainly was a great loss to cinema. In fact even his last film (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead) was a terrific film.

Alex said...

Great review, as always! I haven't seen this one yet but I've always heard great things about it. I love prescient films about television, and have heard some references to my beloved VIDEODROME when people talk about NETWORK, so it sounds good to me!

Also I love how Robert Duvall's last name is misspelled in that poster haha.

ATARKYA SHORT FILMS said...
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shivavarma said...

eventhough i havent seen the movie yet but the review has definitely sparked the cord inside me to watch this movie!!
nice review..
regards
shiva

shivavarma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shubhajit said...

Thanks Alex. Yes, on a thematic level one could bring Network & Videodrome on the same table, though execution wise they were as different as chalk & cheese. Do watch it, as I'm sure you'll like both the relevance of the context & the biting satire.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Shiva. Do watch it, as it ranks among Lumet's greatest works.

Jonny said...

Sure thing Shubhajit. You've got a good thing going here.

1minutefilmreview said...

This isn't one of our favourite lumet picture.There is an element of pretension and over the top theatricality in this which rub us the wrong way.

Shubhajit said...

Interestingly I found the over-the-top nature of some of the characters and situations really captivating :)