Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Social Network

By Sati. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , ,
(120 min, 2010)
Director: David Fincher
Writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake


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“We lived in farms, then we lived in cities, and now we're gonna live on the internet!”

Almost every tenth person on Earth has Facebook account. Incredible. The idea is so simple – it's a site where you can post information about yourself, your pictures, connect with your friends. It's expending rapidly and more and more people log in every day. There is a scene in “The Social Network” where the character is refreshing the page to see if he was added to friends. In another scene girl ask the boy out, but first he must add her on Facebook and then they can talk about having a drink sometime – in old days they would just go out for a drink. I suspect things like that are already happening in the real world where the virtual one is slowly winning people's interest and time. And all of that began with Mark Zuckerberg.
 

Mark isn't exactly socially awkward nerd – he is brilliant, he knows a lot and he speaks his mind. The problem is that he says too much – his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara, Fincher's muse in the upcoming remake of “The girl with the dragon tattoo) breaks up with him and calls him an asshole after Mark mocks her university. Then, hurt, he calls her bitch and throws in some other colorful remarks on his blog. He is not an asshole per se – he just doesn't know how to connect with others. Feeling mix of hurt and anger he creates a site where one can judge which of the girls on the screen is hotter. That idea will attract the attention of Winklevoss brothers (Armie Hammer in double role) who want Mark to help them build a social network in Harvard. But Mark will have different idea, all the time lying to the brothers he will help them with theirs. His idea will become Facebook.



The story structure is complex but it would be difficult to get lost – we see two depositions – Mark is being sued by his former best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield, soon to appear in a title role in “Spiderman” new movie), the other one is regarding the theft of intellectual property from Winklevoss brothers. The movie goes back and forth to the events from three perspectives – Mark's, the brothers' and Eduardo's. All of those events combine in one clear story. Interestingly enough, Fincher establishes that in those lawsuits Zuckerberg is on the lost position – nothing is being done for us to actually consider that Mark is innocent. We keep seeing evidence he is guilty, we keep seeing the other side is actually right about his actions. But after all, Facebook is his invention – all he did was take an idea and make it bigger. And also – make it happen.

“The Social Network” is not an actual depiction of real events, but it's inspired by them. I have no idea how much of it was true, but the movie gives you the basic concept of the events and shows that mythical tale of success. First the fame, then the money, then the trouble. Except it's not really about money, maybe about fame a little. It's about accomplishment and self-image. Mark cares about every tiny detail that can “ruin” the company's image (including hilarious chicken incident), it is strongly implied that when it comes to situations like that he doesn't give second chances. He wants Facebook to be cool, maybe hoping it will make him cool too. The problem is, no matter how much he wants, he wants more of it but then what? We don't see him going on wild parties, picking up girls, buying ridiculously expensive stuff. The youngest billionaire on Earth appears not to be interested in all of the money at all. He only wants to have it, so that others would envy him. Finally, envy him something.
Zuckerberg is played by Jesse Eisenberg – forget the cute guy from “Adventureland” chasing rebellious Kristen Stewart, forget the same cute guy running away from clowns in “Zombieland”. Eisenberg is amazing in the role – he plays a guy who is annoying, without actually being annoying – he is too merciless and sometimes heartbreaking to come out as someone irritating. And he is too interesting – the way he speaks, (Fincher couldn't find a better actor, Eisenberg always says his lines with the speed of light) how without hesitation he says whatever he thinks and he simply doesn't care about others' opinion. At least when it comes to him, not to his creation. His strong character makes it only more interesting that he would get so easily manipulated by Sean Parker (very good role by Justin Timberlake), the creator of Napster, currently without his own business and trying to get involved in Facebook to earn more fame and money. Parker doesn't become Mark's friend and Zuckerberg loses the only person who could be described as one. Sure, he has 25 billion dollars, but to write the biggest cliché of all – he can't buy any friends. But does he even want to have them?

The movie is extremely well made – few times you are overwhelmed by how amazingly the score, the sound, the shots and the dialogues come together. The pacing is very fast, the scenes change but not too rapidly and individual sequences – the rowing race, the night club scene and the creation of FaceMash are masterpieces of editing and all the other cinematic wonders I mentioned in previous line. The story itself is so intriguing and interesting that those 120 minutes in the cinema fly insanely quickly. You are watching the movie and suddenly you realize you're seeing the last scene. The dialogues are truly piece of art. Latest Tarantino didn't have lines that good. The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is beating Hans Zimmer's “Inception” - my favorite of the year so far, leaving bruises and blood behind. While “Inception” had some outstanding pieces here the entire thing is amazing – the combination of very delicate tracks and piercing, intense, almost painful sounds known from Nine Inch Nails' music is tremendous. It sets the tone for the movie – those are kids we are watching, but the things they are involved in are very serious. Loneliness, betrayal, jealousy.

Kids. Barely above 20 years old, what can we know about life? In most cases nothing terrible, unimaginable, paralyzing didn't happen to us. We don't worry about death or diseases. How are we supposed to be grown up? Handle the responsibility of success and keep loyalty to our friends? Especially people in the movie – where biggest concern is who is dating who, how to be cool and which party to go too. I had vivid flashbacks of “Rules of attraction” during watching this movie. They don't care about education or classes – they care about being famous, rich, successful. But choosing the easiest way never brings anything good.

“The Social Network” is nowhere near the milestone “Se7en” was or the greatness of “Fight Club”. But because of the subject, because of the fact the movie deals with something everybody knows it will definitely become a classic. I admire Fincher for the fact he makes viewer relate to the subjects of his movies – the sins and the murders (“Se7en”), the search for meaning and the conclusion that we are all meaningless (“Fight club”), the pursuit for excitement (“The Game”), the need for safety (“Panic Room”), the course of our life (“The Curious case of Benjamin Button”) and now creating our profiles on internet. Sounds silly comparing to other themes, but it's not – hiding behind staged photos, behind words we chose to write on our status, behind pages we like. Barely anyone in this movie revealed his true self. It's all about winning, all about proving you are right. But what for?

This will be the movie nominated for Best Picture. I can't imagine how Fincher could make this movie any better than it already is. If someone's favorite movies are about rivalry, success, competition this will get 100/100 without a doubt. This is the kind of movie that doesn't need soul, because the characters don't need it either. They just need audience.

93/100

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