Kino Bosna VI: Network (1976)

Posted on August 1, 2012

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Network centres on the fortunes of a fictional TV network, and their News Division in particular. Ratings are non existent, they languish behind all others and are essentially treated as a joke in US TV. So, a fictional Channel 5 then. Drastic changes are to be made, and Howard Beale, their news anchor of 20+ years, is told he is to be let go. After a night of heavy drinking, he begins his final 2 weeks by announcing live on air that he is going to commit suicide. Bugger. After an initial hullabaloo, he is given a chance to redeem himself and have a proper send off, but again this descends into anger at life and ends with Beale claiming that ‘life is bullsh*t’. Anger from the network rises up again, but an enterprising young buck in programming, Diana Christensen, sees the potential in Beale’s ranting, and she also saw the spike in the ratings. This all leads to the Howard Beale show, which involves Beale ranting about how the entire world has gone to pot, how the vast majority of people are being turned into babbling nonsensical idiots by ‘the tube’, and how inherently corrupt American society has become. You know, kinda like the stuff people say about the country these days. Despite initially being branded a joke by all around him, Beales rightous anger catches on like wildfire, even prompting a scene where he compels all watching to scream out their windows, and comply everyone does.

The film is pretty much the breakdown of Howard Beale, and the increasingly automaton and cynical fictional network take advantage of the mans plight in the never ending quest for more ratings and more money. It is the story of how journalistic integrity is completely meaningless when it comes to the need for ratings, and of course it is a film that resonates strongly today in our world of reality TV and whatever passes for news these days.

What I Thought Was Buff: Howard Beale’s character is incredibly sympathetic in his madness, and the various characters in the fictional Network are ahead of their time in terms of real villainry. The greeting between Christensen and Hobbs is particularly hilarious. Jensens rant at Beale towards the end is great. Everything The Great Ahmed Khan did.

What I Thought Was Guff: The relationship between Max Schumacher and Christensen just didn’t feel natural at all for me. In fact, the Schumacher character in general was a bit too smug. The ending also felt slightly rushed.

I give this a stupifying Seven point four dinars out of a potential ten dinars.

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Posted in: Cinema, Uncategorized