Network

LetterboxD review link

Here’s the thing about Network: it is a farce, it is satirical, and it is the truest film ever made about journalism in 20th century capitalism. My work in the 2010s has brought me up close and personal with the changing dynamics of print and web journalism in the way this movie depicts the changes in broadcast journalism in the 70s. So many elements – the influence of ratings and measurement, the balance between editorial and audience demands, the role of newsroom and business staff, the self-mythologizing – are depicted with somehow universal applicability. It is a real testament to great writing, directing and film-making that a man yelling and play-dying on screen comes off as a true portrait of working in journalism in modern times.

It is my experience that when you watch a film or read a book that takes place in your part of the professional world (an athlete watching a sports movie, a musician watching a film about music), you often feel like it doesn’t do the complications and nuances justice. But Network is a worthy example of the opposite. I wasn’t a broadcast journalist in the 1970s but this film captures the anxieties of leading a news media organization perfectly.

Beyond this frame, the film is also a pleasurable story to watch unfold.