Network: A Review

by silent sinner

Director:      Sidney Lumet
Writers:        Paddy Chayefsky
Genre:          Drama, Satire
Plot:             A TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit.
Rating:       * * * * * (5/5)

Network (1976) is considered as one of the one hundred best films ever made and for good reasons. Instead of fading into irrelevance as is natural of films three decades past, Network resonates louder and sounds truer and becoming more relevant today. During its time, it was hailed because it handn’t been done before and it took risks but it took its place in history by being one of the few great films that became so much better with time.

Indeed, there are political and cultural analogies throughout the picture that are dated. But the core of his vision remains startlingly clear and eerily prophetic. Howard Beale a composite of several different personalities with whom we have become all too familiar in the world of “news-fo-tainment.” Or maybe a news “celebrity” that hasn’t materialized yet. Maybe that is just how far ahead of its time Network really was.

Chayefsky’s characters are, more often than not, over the top and one may argue that no one speaks that way but it is precisely this element that made the film more effective, leaving a mark in our minds and in the annals of film. Political satires come and go but Network went down to the audience with clarity of message and purpose. It is a riveting and grim tale of the sleaze surrounding the American television industry but rings true elsewhere. It is indeed one off the most powerful, influential and meaningful films ever made.

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