There is an advert bounding around right now that sees a man and his dog who walk around his unknown town screaming, understandably mad about this expensive designer store. The message is something along the lines of not allowing a middle man to take all your money and head to made.com to get your coiffed posh cushion straight from the designer. Ok so this isn’t a plug for made.com* but instead, a note on the advert. See this man is rambling “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to pay it anymore” which is a wonderful tribute to this 1976 satirical film by Sidney Lumet.
Network is a film that thematically stands strong and even more so in this abundance of degradation for entertainment. Here, Lumet and screenwriter Paddy Chayevsky are unashamed to throw shots at the entertainment industry, particularly those hind shots parted at the entertainment industry as well as its audience. Lumet’s direction may, indeed, underline, highlight and hammer home the themes but the film becomes this sickening depiction of just how media businesses work to accrue those big numbers. The spectacle of suicide and assasinations, the rantings of a seeming lunacy that wags sparking speeches of truth and the deep seated disturbing element of watching a man fall apart for entertainment; All the bashing against an industry like television whilst simultaneously throwing shots at audiences and their feverish obsession with another person’s breakdown make Network a highly glorious film.
I’d definitely argue that last year’s Nightcrawler does a much better job at scrutinizing are need for scummy entertainment despite a lot of roots from Gilroy’s debut feeding off the platform Lumet created (even though, at the time, Lumet wasn’t the first to comment.) However, looking back at this classic, you cannot deny the ferocity in which it came. Fierce and funny, Network becomes this bark against the idiot box and it’s culture. It seems almost ludicrous, then, that the film is being used to sell things in this heavily media focused world. More so with our obsession of reality television and documentary that allows us to sit back and judge.
Heck, there are even shows about people watching television shows. It seems Network is even more needed.
What Do You Think?
Or are you mad as hell and aren't going to play it anymore?
Let us know in the comments below!
Network is available on Blu-ray now thanks to Arrow Films!