Thursday, February 24, 2011
Network, directed by Sidney Lumet in 1976 is one of my favorite movies. It feels a little dated now, the look of it, but the plot feels so current. I'm too out of it to summarize the plot, so if you need one, head over here to read one.
I can't comment on how this film felt when it came out - if it felt like plausible plot or too crazy to believe. For me, the power and the joy of watching the film is watching it now, and realizing how disturbingly prophetic it seems. It's unsettling because I can see something like this happening today. It's not like current TV is much different. There is so much reality TV where people go through very personal things on air and share everything with the camera in front of them. Network is disturbing on a basic level because the idea of profiting and getting better ratings off of someones insanity and illness is unsettling. The fact that we have shows that do this exact thing on TV right now takes it to another level. I know I watch a handful of shows that do this - like Hoarders, and after watching Network again, I had to stop and think about why I watch them. Does it make me feel better about myself? Are those people really being helped or just exploited? I mean, are we really better off now that we can watch footage of people being murdered on the local news? I can't imagine that becoming so desensitized is really helpful, but my addled brain can't make much sense of it right now.
Network is a really great movie - it's incredibly well written and the acting is so outstanding. If you haven't seen it, you have to. If it's been a long time since you watched it last, you have to see it again. It's sort of perfect for how our media acts, and it feels really modern, plot-wise. If you check it out, let me know what you think!
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on Network