Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
Network is a satiric look at the television industry… at least it was in the 70’s. Compared to the actual state of TV and the news, there are scant few clues remaining that this is supposed to be ridiculous. It’s goddamn depressing.
A newscaster, Howard Beale, has learned that he’s going to be fired because he’s getting low ratings. In response, he announces that he’s going to shoot himself on-air. This gets people’s attention, and as he goes through a breakdown, his show becomes more and more popular. It’s revised into being more of a circus than the news, and Beale thinks that he’s a messenger of truth. When his insane rants finally hurt the network’s business deals, they decide the best way to deal with him is to have him shot on air.
There’s also plenty of other stuff in Network, mostly about Faye Dunaway’s character making other TV shows and having an affair, but it never really ends up being worth anything. Otherwise, it’s a very well-written film with some of the most memorable monologues in film history (I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!). Also, Lumet’s directing is beautiful, as always. I just love how it’s there for you to see if you’re looking for it, but you still get the benefit of his little tricks and the way he sets up the mood of a scene even if you’re just passively watching. So yes, this is a good movie, and if you want to see Glenn Beck’s coming foretold, this is where you can do that.