Network broadcasts its televisional corruption through satirical poetry that beckons democratic madness. “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore”, screams Howard Beale from the confinement of his studio desk. Exerting his ornate insanity upon the entranced viewers who innocently stare at their cubic televisions, watching the news broadcast fuelled by media misrepresentation and propaganda. “Go to your nearest window and scream”, acting as the voice of the working class, benign to the American corporate fundamentals that masquerade the politics of democracy. In an age where leading actors can represent constituencies or states, and businessmen can be presidential candidates for a nation (and successfully winning...), Lumet’s timeless satire on conceptualised democracy is one that grows more appropriate with each passing decade.
A statement on the American financial system, where colossal stock markets rule the supposed freedom of the people. Broadcasting networks more focussed on combating against each other for monetary viewership, leading to exaggerated fabrications, rather than reporting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Exploiting the frail mentality of humanity to feed the greed and lust of “humanoid” managers, capitalising on the naivety of man.
Network depicts the modern evolution of communicating false truths. As technology evolves, we grow more and more susceptible to the “truth” that is conveyed to us. We, much like sponges, absorb the information demonstrated through the porous pixels that we subject our eyes to. Televisions. And through hyperbolised satire, including planning an assassination attempt and coercing suicidal tendencies, Lumet offers a cutthroat insight into broadcasting institutions and the meticulous methods in which networks function. Motivated by stock shares and rating dominance. Pioneering the consumption of propagandist material. Lumet exploits the audacious power of televisions and its communicative abilities, turning an often comedic satire into a transcendental horror feature.
Powered by sterling performances all-round, including the elusively commanding Dunaway, the maddening lunacy of Finch and the smoothly suave Holden, the poetic dialogue immediately captures the attention of its audience. Concisely elaborate with a hint of existential analysis, an ornate lexicon that refrains viewers from tuning out. Lumet’s long sumptuous takes, allowing the performances to ironically hypnotise, further extend the reach of its material. Superlative direction that, whilst suddenly throws you into the immediate chaos of Beale’s mentality, eases the hectic pace with its scathing power.
The offscreen affair between Dunaway and Holden was the only underdeveloped sub-plot, reinforcing her workaholic agenda that likened her to a corporate machine than to a human with emotive capabilities.
Aside from that, Network absolutely deserves its near-perfect acclaim. A considerably profound illustration of the American system that tantalisingly exposes the fraudulence of promised conceptualised democracy, whilst also enforcing the relinquishment of humanity through television sets. Harrowing times we live in...