The Is A Film Review Of Sidney Lumet's Black Comedy Network

938 words - 4 pages

Network Sidney Lumet's landmark mark film Network was released in 1976. Directed by Sidney Lumet director of films such as Serpico (1973), and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and written by Paddy Chayefsky, who is also credited with such other films as Paint Your Wagon (1969), and The Hospital (1971). Chayefsky, had become famous for screen plays that focus on social commentary in a professional setting and Lumet was renowned for his true to life gritty dramas. This was to be one of Lumet's first attempts at a black comedy picture. The story of Network however is truly a master piece, of black comedy. The story contains every element of dark humor in such a realistic life it almost blurs the lines between comedy and tragedy. The film is full of characters that are both filled with absurdity and reality, giving a pessimistic view of life inside a major Television network. Network was released in 1976 to both great critical and commercial success, it was a top grossing box office hit with even with its hard hitting almost over critical messages. The film is with out a doubt a very dark satire but was even well appreciated amongst people inside the entertainment industry. The film went on to win 4 Oscars including best screen play and was nominated for five other Oscars including best picture. Chayefsky screenplay alone is something to marvel at, it attacks the TV networks in such a brutal manner and challenges the social views of TV's place in our culture. "Even TV's psychological effects are explored (eg. Dunaway's character is unable to make a relationship last longer than soap-opera duration, and climaxes too soon during sex because TV has shortened her attention span to one minute)." The film makes a number of other jabs at TV too including the idea that TV is catering to the "lowest common denominator" something that has become very real in the last few decades. However, at the time the film was made TV programming such as this didn't seem in the realm of possibilities but, today many of the comical aspects of the film have become reality rather then comedy and allow us to see how far we have slid. Characters in the film are both stereotypical and absurd. Howard Beale played by Peter Finch, is a mentally unstable man who is kept on the airways because Diana Christensen played by Faye Dunaway cares more about getting good ratings then getting help for another human being. The only half way decent character in the film is Max Schumacher who is an old school TV news man from and era gone by. These characters all play off each other in such a way that you really begin to believe that this scenario is not only...

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