Sidney Lumet - Network (3)
A justified message hardly ever gets better, when it is preached instead of told subtly, and Network makes no difference. This drama of a unscrupulous bunch of network executives turning TV news into a quota hungry travesty akin to a televangelism sideshow would have been much stronger if there weren't several droning monologues of the main character about the evils of television. It is somewhat ironic that a movie that accuses audiences of blindly gobbling up sensationalism and following any and every leader, if he shouts loud enough, and the executives of ruthlessly exploiting this lack of maturity, resorts to propaganda to try and get its message across, not trusting its own audience, either. Just who, one wonders, are the writers trying to talk to here, and what do they really want to say? As it stands, the message seems to be that since audiences are dumb sheep, the producers of media need to be responsible shepherds. That message is snobbery so close to the opinions held by the films villains as to make it hard to take its scathing criticism of western society seriously. Network has its nice moments - some of Peter Finch's madman preaching is quite cute, as is the cinematography and the acting -, but overall, it disappoints.