Washed-up news anchorman (Finch) flips on air, finds God, and is gleefully exploited by his TV company to boost the ratings with his epileptic evangelic revivalism. Network gives a rather old-fashioned plot the '70s treatment: the result is slick, 'adult', self-congratulatory, and almost entirely hollow. Paddy Chayefsky's entrenched but increasingly desperate script parades its middle-aged symptoms to little effect: it's ulcerous, bilious, paranoid about youth, and increasingly susceptible to fantasy. Above all, it's haunted by fear of failing powers; presumably people telling each other what lousy lays they were is to be taken as indication of the film's searing honesty. Lumet's direction does nothing to contain the sprawl, and most of the interest comes in watching such a lavishly mounted vehicle leaving the rails so spectacularly.