Wednesday, 22 June 2011
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