Saturday, November 13, 2010


Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by David Fincher
Based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires"
by Ben Mezrich


Looking at the three reviews so far you would think I'm very generous with the scores, but this is not true, I have just been fortunate to have just seen a very good movie and recently read a very good book. This movie, 'The Social Network', has been receiving unprecedented praise and this naturally leads one to ask 'is it worth it?'. Well, a reserved yes. Reserved because I can't say that it will become an influential film, it certainly may become a classic film, but besides from a sharper (read quick intelligence) dialogue it doesn't offer anything new or open up new directions for cinema - aspects I would consider for overwhelming praise. What the film does do, however, is bring together its cinematography, screenplay, music, acting and all other cinematic elements in such an intelligent and entertaining way that is rarely seen in Hollywood movies.

To watch this movie you don't need to have facebook, in fact, you don't even have to care about it (of course these things will help as in-jokes and nods to teenage society are found throughout). This is not a movie for people with facebook, nor is it necessarily about it (at least in its effect on society), but rather it is about the creator/s. Basing it around the people involved means it becomes a film about 'real' relationships and not screen-to-screen ones. If Fincher decided to focus the film on the influence of facebook then it would have become a quasi-documentary. Instead it is a drama, with the screenplay echoing the rapid-fire dialogue seen in many plays (which isn't a surprise considering Sorkin is also a playwright). It certainly isn't natural speech but it didn't need to be. This isn't supposed to be a mirror of reality, it is too polished for that; instead it is a (loosely) true story represented as entertainment, and the witty dialogue is used to create the intellectual atmosphere of Harvard and its characters.

Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg (the founder) does a great job as a person who has an idea and wants to create it himself. But for this he will have to rely on others. This is where Eduardo (played by Andrew Garfield) comes in with the money to finance it all. What Eduardo brings to the movie is what lifts it into the higher echelons of film: the delicacy and balance of human relationships. Without this it would be a nice movie, with a nice storyline that is nicely filmed. We get that from a lot of Hollywood productions (see Inception), but Sorkin and Fincher are able to add a depth and complication to the characters that ultimately drives the already interesting story. More than any other character, Eduardo is similar to us; he is down-to-earth, wants to make money and does not possess a freakish talent, and thus we can empathize with him. Zuckerberg is different from us, and this is what makes him a fascinating subject. We do not know what to make of him, and are left with the question posed throughout the movie: is he really an asshole? 

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