March 3, 2013


Sidney Lumet, 1976


Network immediately feels dated, but once it settles in you really get a sense of what makes this film appealing. The exchange of dialogue and performances by Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall and Peter Finch is what carries Network. The film itself is devoid of a score, the set design is limited to the confines of high rise office space, and the occasional narration is raspy and monotonal. Its similar to Glengarry Glen Ross in the sense that the dialogue is so hypnotic that you don't really need anything else and it relies heavily on individual performances. I found myself glued to three or four of the big exchanges in the film (most notably the board room scene and the fight between Dunaway & Holden late in the film). The film is definitely guilty of having some overacting. Network achieves its goal of being a satire piece on the relentless pursuit for ratings in television, sacrificing ethics and personal relationships along the way. It's also quite impressive how prophetic the film actually is, given the endless amount of trash that is put on broadcast television nowadays for shock value. This film deserved the Best Screenwriting Oscar without question. While I am glad I saw Network for its historical cinematic importance, it is not something I feel too inclined to see again anytime soon.

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