In 1971, New Yorker critic Pauline Kael wrote “Raising Kane,” a 50,000-word essay on the authorship of the film Citizen Kane. In the now-infamous screed, Kael contended that Herman J. Mankiewicz, the film’s credited cowriter, had scripted it without significant input from director and star Orson Welles. This essay has been largely debunked, though it would seem to form the basis of David Fincher’s eleventh feature, a deep-focused, black-and-white biopic about Algonquin-Round-Table-wit-turned-Hollywood-screenwriter Mankiewicz, played by Gary Oldman. First drafted in the 1990s by Fincher’s father, Jack (who passed away in 2003), it centers on Mankiewicz writing Kane in Victorville, California, where Welles sent him to free the unrepentant alcoholic from distractions, with secretary Rita Alexander (Lily Collins) in tow. Perhaps in reference to Citizen Kane, the film deploys a flashback structure revealing Mankiewicz’s purported animus for the script, namely his relationship with William Randolph Hearst, the inspiration for Kane, and his movie-star mistress, Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried, terrific as the misunderstood, Brooklyn-accented waif). There’s also a tenuous subplot involving the writer-activist Upton Sinclair (Bill Nye—yes, that Bill Nye, in a brief cameo) and attempts by MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer and producer Irving Thalberg to defeat him in his run for governor of California. The film is entertaining enough, despite such unavailing digressions; but, as yet another impugnation on Welles, played here as a megalomaniac wunderkind, it trods well-worn and oft-disputed territory.