Network (Sidney Lumet. 1976)

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One of life’s hardest things to do is relay pure truth to another person – because what one person thinks is truth, another may not. Network is both a biting satirical comment on modern media and a study of what truth means is in the modern age. It’s a thrillingly dark story about the excesses of media and news journalism as well as how they communicate with the masses.

The main plot of news anchor Howard Beale’s (played by Peter Finch) journey to insanity at the hands of his own network is a comic but sad one, showing the chaotic, mad nature of media at its most ruthless. It also creates great parallels. On the one hand there is a man wanting to tell the truth about  the society we live in and on the other hand is a twisted, business minded body trying to profit from his opinions.

There are some great monologues amongst the chaos. Peter Finch’s famous “I’m mad as hell” speech is invigorating and powerful, running in parallel with Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) spouting orders to profit from his outbursts.

It’s a surreal, excessive and intelligent film. It’s a film all satirical movies should aspire to be like.

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