Directed by Sidney Lumet
This film is a tour de-force as far as acting is concerned. I never would have thought with a main cast all above the median age of 50, that a film would contain as much energy as this one does, but it’s as electrically charged as the lightning bolt crashing through its poster and trailer. Within a two hour running time, it zips in and out of the life of its four main characters, bouncing all around them and watching as their realities (both televised and not) come crashing down around them.
I’ve never seen the television industry portrayed so coldly, humoursly, and gasp, accurately. (Though I sincerely hope that that last point has changed somewhat over the past thirty-some-odd years, as it’s an industry I hope to one day work in.) The entire film is a philosophical look at not only the television generation, but the entire way that the world presently works. It’s full of spot-on characterization, fast and furious dialogue, and metaphors on top of metaphors. If I had one gripe with the film, it’s that Faye Dunaway’s relationship with William Holden feels somewhat rushed or false, but by the end of the film, I believe that was intentional more so than not. It’s certainly a powerful piece of filmmaking, and if I have very little to say about it, it’s only because there’s no need. Anything there is to say, “Network” finds a way to say it. Or show it.