Many people I know, if not everyone I know has those movies they can’t help but watch over and over again. These are the ones that connect with you at a visceral level, and instantly draw your full attention as you’re flipping through the channels on a late night. Despite being a great fan of the medium, I’m generally not the type of person who can do that. My short attention span makes it difficult for me to see a movie more than once, and for that reason alone I usually rent the films I claim to love instead of purchase them.
Tonight I was on the phone with a friend and ‘Network’ went on the air. ‘Network,’ for those of you unfamiliar, is a satirical film from 1976 about the downfall of American society, as told through the story of a struggling television network. About ten minutes into watching it tonight I realized that I was still on the phone, although my friend had hung up long on me out of annoyance.
‘Network’ is hypnotic, brilliant, passionate and above all, relevant. Every time I see it the ideas and themes behind it seem more important than ever; it’s about the dumbing down of America, it’s about media becoming the new God, it’s about how cold and impersonal the power of communication has made us.
All of these are emphasized, and almost overshadowed by the powerful acting of everybody involved. Peter Finch gives his greatest, and final, film performance as the mad prophet of the airwaves, Howard Beale.
Not only that, but ‘Network’ serves as proof that Faye Dunaway can do a lot more than telenovelas and ‘Dunston Checks In.’ She won the Academy Award for a reason, you know.