Network (1976)

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When a veteran news anchorman has a mental breakdown on screen and becomes an overnight sensation, the network’s amoral executives set about exploiting him for much needed ratings.

This social satire on the state of the media and its unhealthy influence on the general population is regarded as one of the greatest screenplays ever produced and it is still amazingly sharp and insightful even within the context of today. It’s technically flawless with superb performances from William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall and Peter Finch, each delivering some of the sharpest dialogue ever committed to celluloid. It’s strange how relevant it all seems as the same kind of inter-generational technophobic paranoia about the state of mankind that was aimed at television at the time when this film was made can just as easily be applied to the impact the internet has had in recent times. Of course, the population has had another three decades to continue the transformation into vacuum packed, spoon-fed humanoids and so its very dense and wordy approach may be lost on the attention span of the Michael Bay¬†generation; even I must admit that I found it a little self-superior and the soap opera romantic elements felt a bit forced, but it is one of those films a true cinephile has to see for the sheer cinematic skill on display.

A classic satire that rings as true today as when it was written.

7/10

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