Friday, October 29, 2010

More Thoughts on... The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network, 2010.

Directed by David Fincher.
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Brenda Song, Rooney Mara, Armie Hammer and Max Minghella.


A biopic on Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of popular social networking site Facebook.

“Who on earth would want to make a film about Facebook?” was my first remark upon hearing the popular social networking site was having its story told on the big screen. My thinking was that a group of geeks and nerds masturbating over their motherboards and electronic code with the eventual goal of creating something that people could use to let their friends know they have fed their cat and are now eating hobnobs seemed absolutely shite. Even when I saw the trailer and it’s slick production value I couldn’t have cared less. That is until I saw one name – David Fincher. “It’s made by Fincher?” I exclaimed. “Shit! I’m going to have to watch this.”

I must confess that I am a massive fan of Mr. Fincher. Fight Club is a film that blew my mind as 16 year old as it was so clever, dark and the twist was one that I could never see coming in a million years. I was mesmerized by the story and the method by which it was told, so for that reason it is one DVD that will never gather dust on my shelf. The Game and Seven are also two fantastic films that captured my imagination and, more recently, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button moved me to the verge of tears. So… I had to see The Social Network.

The Social Network is the story of Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, as he takes the idea of an electronic social network from a seed through to its one-millionth member. Throughout the film we cut back and forth between the two legal battles being fought against Zuckerberg by his former best friend and first investor, Eduardo, and the three guys who claim Zuckerberg stole their idea. How closely based it is upon Zuckerberg’s real story is unsure since the world’s youngest billionaire has distanced himself from the project, but it doesn’t matter. The film is brilliant. Despite the cutting back and forth between two lawsuits that consist of Zuckerberg sat wearing socks and sandals at a table with several lawyers constantly arguing, the film never slows.

I was engaged right from the very start when Zuckerberg’s rude, ignorant and condescending conversation with his girlfriend leads to her breaking up with him. I was still engaged come the very end when Facebook achieved it’s one-millionth member and Zuckerberg had managed to alienate every single friend he ever had. There’s something about Fincher’s slick and slightly dark style of directing that keeps me enthralled in all of his films. This is no different. The Social Network really is a slick film and whispers in Hollywood are suggesting possible Oscar nominations.

Acknowledgement must go to Aaron Sorkin’s script as it ticks along nicely and gives you enough time with Zuckerberg to see his loneliness and resentment for others without spending too long watching him sat on his own. Zuckerberg’s clever wit flows beautifully despite the sheer number of immensely complicated words he strings into his clever sentences.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg exactly as I would expect a billionaire computer nerd to act and he gives a great portrayal of a kid who has absolutely no social skills. The harder he tries to make friends, the less he has. It must be said that this film could well have been a bore-fest with any other combination of filmmakers, but Sorkin and Fincher have nailed it with the help of Eisenberg.

The Social Network is a story of success, friendship and how one will ruin the other. To be successful Zuckerberg must forsake his one true friend Eduardo and despite the website hitting its one-millionth member the loneliness felt by Zuckerberg is so brilliantly subtle and so very tragic. I could easily watch The Social Network again immediately.

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D.J. Haza

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