Daniel Corleone - wrote on 10/11/11
Howard Beale’s (Peter Finch) time will be limited due to poor ratings. He receives this status from his friend News Division President Max Schumacher (William Holden). Howard starts rambling about “the truth about life, that it is B.S.” and exclaims to the viewers to emulate him by going out the window and scream "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) develops and makes major changes to the program to make it The Howard Beale Show. Max and Diane have an affair, but become cold in the end. Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) takes over after the President of the Network dies and makes insensitive changes to gain ratings. Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) informs Beale about the world of business and its effects. Some of the few memorable quotes: Howard - My life has value!" Max – “All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. The daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split-seconds and instant replays.” Arthur – “The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale.”
Astonishing performances by Finch and Dunaway, with Beatrice Straight winning an Oscar as well as the wife of Max, Louise Schumacher. Evidently one of the best screenplays I’ve witnessed, the lines were simultaneously intellectual and witty. The score could have been improved but the appealing dialogues and acting just shines. In my opinion, this is one of the few dark comedies that were produced, without people knowing the genre. So many matters touched like obsession with power (ratings to the point of gambling with life), evils of business, frustrations (method of how it is released) test of loyalty (the affair of Max and Diane), and reality versus television. The film makes a point to clearly differentiate whatever we watch against our daily lives and relationships. In the words of the prophet like Beale – “You're beginning to believe that the tube is reality and your own lives are unreal.” The movie may have over the top speeches that tend to drag and the lack of an interesting score doesn’t stop it for being an enjoyable flick. Network doesn’t seem dated, and speaks volumes how television can consume peoples time and lives to the point of insanity with entertaining results.