Sunday, May 07, 2006
Network hasn't aged particularly well. Many of its dire predictions about the power of TV and the dangers of for-profit interests taking over news bureaus have come true, rendering the film a bit quaint despite its prescience. The effects of TV lampooned in Network are exponentially worse these days, and we've had the creeping fascism of breathless Bush coverage and failed reporting leading up to the Iraq war, making Orwell a more fitting prophet than Paddy Chayefsky.
Some of the dialogue is simply goofy; William Holden carries on a lengthy analogy between TV scripts and his affair with Faye Dunaway that never ends. An entire corral of dead equine flesh is bludgeoned into glue before he says, walking out the door, "And now for some scenes from next week's show." Much of the acting is mere enthusiastic shouting--some actors can pull this off (Duvall and Ned Beatty do so here)--others seem stretched at points (Holden and Dunaway).
But as an artifact of cultural paranoia, as distopian vision proved reliably accurate, Network is worth seeing, faults and all.