Limp is fodder for cinephiles and lovers of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood. With infectious looseness, Gary Oldman plays (Darkest hour) the clever, eloquent and not devoid of cynical humor, the title hero who is confined to his bed after a car accident. Lying back, he dictates the script for it Citizen Kane, occasionally interrupted by phone calls from the rather pedantic Welles (Tom Burke) and assisted by an English secretary (Lilly Collins). She has been instructed to keep the drink and gambling addict Mankiewicz sober and to work. Certainly no easy task.
The fact that Mank largely models his story about a wealthy newspaper magnate after William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), also causes unrest in the film world. Certainly also because the writer got to know the mighty Hearst personally through his mistress – the movie star Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). Jumping back and forth through time, guided by script cues, the viewer thus gains an increasingly clear picture of the context in which Citizen Cane came about. But then completely from Mankiewicz’s perspective.
Parallels with today’s world are certainly there, if only because the current US president seems to be mirroring the mighty title character from Citizen Kane, designated by Trump as his favorite movie. Nevertheless Limp above all a perfectly executed style exercise, a time travel through Hollywood history and above all an ode to the writer and his ability to distil a story from chaos. With which the director eventually raises both title hero Herman J. Mankiewicz and his own father to the shield posthumously.
✭✭✭✭ (4 out of 5)
Now in theaters and from December 4 also on Netflix.