Saturday, 3 July 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 291

100 - Network - 4 stars
Another incredibly prescient film about the media with the ability to correctly predict the state of television nearly 35 years ahead of time.
"Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park".
Following news of his imminent firing, newscaster Howard Beale has an on-air meltdown with the famous "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore". The audiences embrace this media prophet who speaks the truth and tired of all the "bullshit".
The network however want to exploit him and turn his ramblings into a prime-time show thanks to ruthless TV producer Diana Christensen who is more concerned with ratings than the quality of the content. Seeking sensationalism over the truth:
"We could make a series of it. "Suicide of the Week." Aw, hell, why limit ourselves? "Execution of the Week." "Terrorist of the Week." I love it. Suicides, assassinations, mad bombers, Mafia hitmen, automobile smash-ups: "The Death Hour." A great Sunday night show for the whole family. It'd wipe that fuckin' Disney right off the air."
The writers understand the medium of television and the vicious satire they are working to create and even have the characters make reference to this as William Holden's character leaves his wife and explains to her that this the Act 2 moment where the cheating husband leaves only to come back in the third act with his tail between his legs after being dumped by the beautiful leading lady.
Performances are strong right across the board and received a record five Oscar nominations for acting including winners Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch (the only person other than Heath Ledger to win an Oscar after their death).
The film ends with a moment of television that would seem as controversial as Sachsgate, as the network executives come up with a incredible solution on how to get Howard Beale off the air... but how long will we have to wait before something like that becomes a reality?

Days remaining - 74 Films remaining - 74

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