Sunday, July 18, 2010

NETWORK (1976)

“Because the only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now there’s a whole and entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel! The ultimate revelation! This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers. This tube is the most awesome goddamn force in the whole godless world…Television is not the truth. Television is goddamn amusement park. ”
- Peter Finch in his Oscar winning act as ‘Howard Beale’

Sydney Lumet is the master of in depth drama made with terrific script and intense characters that made us felt permanent mark in most of his films and this is another gem of the movie that he made. Its father of all films critiquing today’s TRP mongering Television journalism. By all means it’s a social reforming cinema raising many pertinent questions; the most direct one to us as the viewers who sit and watch this nonsense bullshit at primetime enabling them to be parasite of our daily lives.

I bow my head to Sidney Lumet and screenplay writer Paddy Chayefsky for bringing such a powerful and most intimate drama of the time perhaps more relevant to today’s time than the time of its release. It questioned the very authenticity of today’s television news when news network becomes just another profit mongering business governed by big sharks of market. It leads to rivalry of ratings war between channels where mad ambitious humanoid heads are supposed to make a concocted special series on an available footage, senior reporters are told to weave the stories around that seems like investigative journalism summing up news as means of entertainment!…who cares damn about authenticity and reliability!!!

An aging frustrated reporter of UBS Howard Beale on live TV confessed in mad frenzy that he’s going to commit a public suicide at the end of the week and the big heads of TV make it a big news show turning an individual’s personal frustration and hysteria into a dummy face of prophetic messiah for the audience. And next we witness the rise and the fall of the face of the prophet became the scapegoat to the bottomless horror of media.

Watch the scene stealer Peter Finch as Howard Beale with his uncontrolled mad intensity in live show addressing the viewers- “First get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out and yell- I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value! ... I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” And next we see the things ran frenzy at windows at night yelling and repeating Howard’s prophetic words. It’s great Sidney Lumet moment! Lumet took the best of all brilliant cast- William Holden, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall. The film has tough rivals at Oscar that year- ‘Taxi Driver’, “All the President’s Men’ and ‘Rocky’. Though it managed to win Best Actor- Peter Finch (though De Niro deserved it too for immortal Travis Bickle, Finch is just too intense to resist even with his limited screen presence), Best Actress- Faye Dunaway (undoubtedly great actress of 70s) and absolutely deserving trophy of Best Screenplay- Paddy Chayefsky. Its script and powerful screenplay like this which proves why screenplay writing is called the mother of the filmmaking.

Another Masterpiece of Sydney Lumet. Don’t miss it at any cost.

Ratings- 10/10

1 comment:

Luv said...

Gr8 review! This too on my list now...