Network (DVD)

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Network (DVD)

With stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles the media's imminent corruption and the p...

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Review of "Network (DVD)"

published 16/07/2017 | IzzyS
Member since : 27/07/2006
Reviews : 712
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About me :
Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you - I will rectify it ASAP. My thoughts go to all affected by the recent tragedies.
Excellent
Pro Powerful, thought provoking, still relevant thematically, Peter Finch, memorable,
Cons Some aspects of the plot may seem distasteful, could upset some? aka quite dark in tone
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"One Mans Slow Breakdown Exploited Via Live TV"

- Story -

Network depicts how a networked TV channel in New York City decides to cash in on the heavy ratings they get after a news anchor, Howard Beale, learns he's to be fired and lets out an outburst, threatening suicide, while on TV. They decide not to fire Beale but to give him his own aggressively promoted show. His friend, who also works for the network, is concerned that their cashing in on his presumed break down but the network won't drop him in a rush. This surely can't continue forever - will someone manage to get Beale off the air? you'll have to watch the film to find out.

- More Info., Thoughts & Opinions -

This is a drama film, with themes including the media, delusion, TV ratings and social commentary. I thought the main plot sounded quite interesting, although it is (inevitably) quite bleak, featuring what some may see as dark comedy, although others may well feel uncomfortable with the idea of comedy being in relation to someone feeling suicidal, of course.

I felt that aspects of this film are still relevant to the modern day, certainly in terms of manipulating, or exploiting, the media for selfish reasons (alternative news anyone?!) and the like. I thought that some of the dialogue was quite witty - I did smirk at times. I like to sometimes watch films which cover somewhat taboo issues and subjects and I felt this was a well made film in general. There is definitely an element of back stabbing, with the dog eat dog world of television reporting being put under the spotlight. It is definitely distasteful to an extent, how a persons downfall is all but encouraged in order to increase ratings and the like but I would point out that the main focus, plot wise, is moreso on the television networks side of things and less so on the personal side of Mr. Beale.

It does raise some moral issues, being relatively thought provoking, or so I thought anyway. I think it is a good talking piece in terms of the medias reaction to celebrities suffering from presumed drunken breakdowns or similar and it may make you question how people may have been, or be, unfairly profiting from someones downfall. Its fair say that certainly the printed press are known for being quite invasive in terms of getting photographs of and printing scandalous allegations about certain people - I specify the printed press as I believe there's less in the way of stringent regulations, compared to on television, which is obviously heavily regulated via OFCOM et al.

I found Howard to be an interesting character - some of what he says I felt sounded almost as if he's trying to convince himself of what he says, let alone others, while in other scenes, it was, I admit, a somewhat painful watch, as he is clearly struggling with his situation. They say that the media is cynical and I'd say there's a fairly heavy dose of cynicism present in this film, as there should be. Due to the way that the plot pans out, I felt it did seem reasonably realistic, not that thats necessarily a great thing given the plot but I did somehow feel that what I was watching, could very well have taken place in the way its depicted.

Cast wise, Howard Beale is played by Peter Finch. His performance is very good, he seemed very convincing, very disillusioned and angry. Also noteable, performance wise, is Faye Dunnaway, who plays Diana Christensen who works at the network. She seems a very shrewd, quick witted, sharp and strongly focussed character, although it did frustrate me that it seemed that so much of the network wanting to exploit Beale came down, essentially, to Dianas greed. Its true to say that the various male characters who work at said network are hardly painted as angels themselves but then I suppose you could argue that (given the film was release in the 1970s) it was nice to see a woman depicted as being fairly high up the ranks business wide at the time. Meanwhile, Robert Duvall plays Franck Hackett, Wesley Addey plays Nelson Chaney and William Holden plays Max Schumacher.

Content wise, the film contains some strong language, including racially offensive terms, sex references and partial nudity and there is moderate violence depicted, with the start of the film including some news footage of terrorist events shown on the network before Beale's situation came to light (shall we say). Multiple characters are shown in a drunken state and are shown smoking and there are a few scenes which are emotionally quite powerful. Due to the themes covered in the film and the content mentioned, the film has been given a 15 rating.

If I had to compare this to anything, in terms of the themes, morals and the plot, the closest I can think of is Black Mirror, the dark comedy TV drama show by TV critic Charlie Brooker.

At the end of the day, it is a somewhat powerful, thoughtful and well made film about excess, worship (to an extent) and exploitation - one which makes you question the relevant morality and ethics in such a situation and its a film which may stay with you for some time.

- Would I Recommend It? -

Yes, I would definitely recommend this film. Its quite hard hitting but it covers interesting themes and is still really quite relevant in this modern day, although it dates from the 1970s. It features good performances, some good dialogue and is a thought provoking watch, so I'd recommend it on that basis.

- Availability -

If your interested in seeing this, you can buy it on DVD for £4.50 at Amazon UK, at time of publishing this review. I watched it via Netflix UK, although they can (and do) delete content from time to time, so it may not still be available if you try to access it a while after this is published.

- Final Note / Thank You -

Thank you for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks, as ever, for any and all rates and comments.

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  • mummytobe78 published 22/07/2017
    Vh
  • rolandrat123 published 20/07/2017
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  • euphie published 19/07/2017
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Product Information : Network (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

With stunning prescience, Sidney Lumet's searing satire of television and the contemporary moment chronicles the media's imminent corruption and the public's wholesale purchase into the myths that it creates. With a verbose and visceral script from Paddy Chayefsky, NETWORK follows the doomed path of aging newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch), who upon learning that he is to be fired after decades as a news anchor announces to millions of viewers that he will publicly commit suicide during his last broadcast. When the ratings consequently shoot up, razor-sharp executive in training Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) seizes the moment to exploit Beale's messianic nervous breakdown, turning his delusional exclamatory rage into the vehicle for the network's first number one show and a nationwide craze. Middle-aged and fading news department head Max Schumacher (William Holden) is the only thing that stands in Diana's way--and even then not for long after she casually seduces him and easily has him fired with the help of the savage new head of the network, Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall). The moral and spiritual turpitude delivered by the debilitating forces of television are rendered in sharp relief against a backdrop of crumbling humanity in what is regarded as one of the great satires in Hollywood history.

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