15 October 2010
Add, Poke, Like- THE SOCIAL NETWORK Review
As you might have heard, it's "the Facebook movie", but crucially, it's not about Facebook. It's about Mark Zuckerburg, a devastatingly intelligent computing student at Harvard who tries to get around his social ineptitude by creating what develops into Facebook, putting the social experience in an arena where he's more comfortable. As Facebook becomes a phenomenon, Zuckerburg encounters the legal and personal implications of his masterwork.
What's so great about The Social Network is where it comes from. Specifically a salubrious and speculative book like The Accidental Billionaires, which is essentially a story about Facebook, to put it in the reductive terms that others have used to describe this film. What Aaron Sorkin transformed it into is both an indictment and an exploration of today's youth in terms that are accessible to people of any age, or gender, or "relationship status".
His best friend, Eduardo Saverin is played by soon-to-be Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield. It bodes well that he carries off a geeky character with just the right amount of wit and swagger to make him more capable than Mark, and he also serves Eduardo's grievances with his friend very well. The most overtly oppositional perspective is that of the Winklevoss twins, both played seamlessly by Armie Hammer. Although they're not too bright, they're dashing and have a great future ahead of them regardless, and they make it easy for Zuckerburg to develop their idea without sharing any of the eventual kudos.
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't expecting greatness from this. And with the talents of David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and the cast on board, I can only assume it was because this film was "the Facebook movie". If that's the case, my shame knows no bounds. You'll never be more interested in nerds typing code than you will be watching this film, and the script has a lot to say about the implications of Facebook.
I'm eager to reiterate- the filmmakers aren't judging our addiction to socialising online, but rather chronicling it. Justin Timberlake's surprisingly great rendition of Napster founder Sean Parker incorporates paranoia and hedonism and douchebaggery, but he's technically the "adult" to the bright young things who develop Facebook. Sorkin's earnest intentions are clear throughout, but my only real criticism of the film would be that David Fincher, a director who's previously had a very distinctive voice, is all but absent.
The film is very well directed and the digital photography is stunning, but I felt he gave the script too much room to breathe. It needed that room, but while everyone else concerned has a shot at an Oscar for this, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Fincher was overlooked in the Best Director category. The film already has Aaron Sorkin's authorship firmly ingrained, but it's odd to watch the film knowing it was directed by the man who made Se7en and Fight Club.
The Social Network is now playing in selected cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen The Social Network, why not share your comments below? Having loved this script so much, I'm really going to have to go and catch up on The West Wing- I've never seen an episode.
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.