Film Review – The Social Network
I was going to review this last week, but I feel like it’s hard to review a movie like this one after only on viewing. The first time around you walk out of the movie shocked that you thought it was good and have a feeling like you’ve been duped somehow. That a movie about Facebook shouldn’t be as amazing as the film you just saw. You were so enthralled with Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue and the story that chugs along with the speed of a Japanese bullet-train and you think that your mind has been fooled somehow. That’s why I went back to see it for a second time before reviewing the movie here on the site, because I don’t want to feel stupid when I see it on HBO next year and wonder what I was thinking.
Luckily, I think I got the movie a little bit more on the second pass. It wasn’t any less impressive, as the film truly is a masterwork. The script is perfect, the actors are superb, the score is amazing, the direction is top notch and all of this is to tell the story of a site that basically boils down to an enormous time waster. I didn’t say Facebook is a waste of time, I say it’s a time waster. And there is a difference. Facebook fundamentally changed the social dynamic of friendship for the twenty-first century. It altered the human experience for the so-called “Me Generation” in ways that anthropologists and sociologists will study and pontificate on in a few decades’ time. Facebook is, despite itself, one of the most important inventions of the century and so when people saw that a film was being made about its origins I’m surprised so many people reacted with mockery. When you sit and think about it, it’s been four years since Facebook opened itself up to public registrations after dropping its original college-exclusive format. There will be a whole generation of students who don’t know what high school was like before Facebook if it continues to thrive in the manner that it has since its very beginning. The last person to experience high-school before Facebook graduated in early 2005. I’m thankful I didn’t have to deal with that stuff. MySpace didn’t even really boom in popularity until after I had graduated high school. Social Networking was a non-entity in the years forming my social growth.
So when I say that Facebook is an important element of twenty-first century history, I know what I’m talking about. I don’t want this to be the case because I think the idea of a website being such a substantial turning point in history and the way we function as a society is a bit absurd, but that having been said, I know for a fact what a tool the website can be on many different levels from the personal to the business end of things. We have a fan-page set up on Facebook. The store has one, and we use it to do 80% of our marketing and outreach. It’s huge. No doubt.
The film shows us in no uncertain terms what Facebook truly means. The script takes careful pains to emphasize how nobody understood what it truly would be worth and that we probably still don’t. While the company has had to deal with a ton of bad press and controversy, it is still going strong and expanding. Games like Farmville rake in upwards of 20 million dollars to their developers per year and new features roll out on a monthly basis. It can keep expanding or it can crash and burn like MySpace did. We don’t know yet.
But as much as the film is about a website that redefined the way a generation looks at its friends, it’s also about the people who built the website and that’s really where the film works. Whether it’s an accurate portrayal or not, the film’s Mark Zuckerberg is an intriguing and interesting character nonetheless. He’s almost genetically engineered to reject friendship and yet this is the man who created a website that changed the way people viewed friendships in fundamental ways. That is the crux of the film and it is enthralling. How Jesse Eisenberg was able to make this person even slightly sympathetic as a character is beyond me, because the script practically begs us to view him as a worthless jerk. Most people do not like being talked down to, but the film spends its running time finding a balance between the Mark who is being talked down to and the Mark who talks down to everyone.
When the awards season rolls around, expect to see a lot of praise heaped on this one. There are not very many times when a film comes together as well as this one did. Mixing all these elements together to form something workable is something only the most talented people could do and David Fincher really knocked it out of the park. He let himself meander a little bit too much with Benjamin Button but here he reigned himself in enough to make something taut and refined. It really is a work of art.
Oh, and because I’m a f##king pig, Brenda Song is smokin’ hot and I would do dirty dirty things to her, even if she were as crazy as her character in this film is.
This entry was posted on October 11, 2010 by J. Goodson Dodd. It was filed under Blog Posts, Reviews and was tagged with Aaron Sorkin, Andrew Garfield, Benjamin Button, Brenda Song, David Fincher, Facebook, Farmville, Film Review, Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network.