Welcome to Sculpting in Time, Nats' movie review blog! I watch movies nearly everyday (and sometimes several in one day) and I will write about ALL of them! So check back often and feel free to leave your own reviews in the comments.

Network (1976)

The first movie from the AFI's 100 Greatest Movies list that I posted a few days ago, Network is a 1976 drama directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, The Appointment, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict) and staring Faye Dunaway (Bonnie & Clyde, Chinatown). The script for Network may as well just be the guidebook for any current major news network, but more apparently, it's prophetic of our current state of affairs regarding entertainment and corporatocracy. Or maybe it's just always been that way. In Network, the fictional television network UBC has recently been bought by the conglomerate CCA. With a new, stronger incentive to make profit and boost ratings, UBC's programming director, Diana(Faye Dunaway), becomes desperate to create hit show; there is no line she won't cross.

Howard Beale (Peter Finch) in a evening news anchorman with journalistic credibility and a historic career, but awful ratings. When he is fired from the network, he has a mental break down and threatens to kill himself on air. The threat brings the channel enormous ratings and, even though Beale is clearly out of his mind, the network executives decided to give him his own nightly show as a modern, angry prophet. The show is an astronomical success until his mad rantings begin to target UBC and CCA. Beale's nightly newscasts don't have power, anger, or mass appeal anymore and his ratings plummet. Unable to just get rid of Beale, the network decides to obliterate him in an unimaginable way.

The current resonance of Network is astonishing. Glenn Beck might as well be reading directly from Howard Beale's script. The question, then, is when will Beck have to be suppressed by his puppet masters?! Anyway, it's a rather unique story. Not many movies are made about the inner workings of network TV, especially ones that are so socially relevant. The plot is engaging and Faye plays flat characters really well. Some of the dialogue is awfully corny, though. Especially regarding the relationship that develops between Max (UBS News president, played by William Holden) and Diana. This is probably intentional, though, as Max repeatedly reflects that their relationship merely follows one of Diana's TV scripts. Still, the dialogue during these scenes is laughable, which is a nice relief during such an intense drama. Overall, Network is a well constructed story with many ripples of influence. It's a movie that will be referred to and remain relevant for years to come.

Writing: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10


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