Not a Movie Snob - The Social Network

Posted on Monday, October 04, 2010 at 06:00 PM

"What's on your mind?"

The Social Network

You know the one about that guy who was in college and was sitting in his dorm room one night and decided to create this thing where people can stay connected and reconnect with childhood friends and called it Facebook? That's a good idea, why didn't I think of that? How many people do you think have said something along those lines since this Facebook thing has settled comfortably into our way of life. I have. What I didn't think about before seeing this partially true story, is how much of a computer genius you have to be to be able to create a program like Facebook. Dreaming it up is the easy part. Then comes thousands and thousands of lines of gibberish looking code to transform that idea into a website.

The Social Network uses clever words, great storytelling and just a dash of Hollywood suspense to show us that Mark Zuckerberg isn't just some dude who had a good idea and stumbled into billions, he's a dude who had a good idea, used his (and a few friends) computer smarts and worked his ass off to make probably the best and certainly most popular communication tool of all time.

But this isn't a biopic. And it's not a movie about Facebook. Facebook is just a facet of this story. This is basically a legal drama with flashbacks. A guy's getting sued by two people at once and through flashbacks we see why.
That could be boring. Certainly the reasons for the lawsuits themselves aren't very exciting: He stole my idea, give me money. He tricked me out of my shares in the company, give me money.

But in the hands of David Fincher, who could make a dog taking a shit exciting and suspenseful, there isn't a dull moment in the whole movie.

It's cool to see how Facebook came into being (as told by the filmmakers, it's hard to know how much is truth and how much is dramatized) and the amazing script deserves an Oscar. The lines in the movie are smart and cool and much of the time are delivered so fast by the actors it's like they're bullets being shot at you from a dialogue gun. It takes a lot of talent to sell a script like that as an actor and everyone here does a great job of it. Well, almost everyone. Contrary to what I've been hearing, I thought Justin Timberlake was miscast and did not do a good job with his role. I don't know how effeminate the real Sean Parker is, but Timberlake was so bad at times it was hard for me to hear his lines. All I was hearing was 'hey everyone, I'm a pop superstar, I was in a boy band, can't you tell?' Anyway, he wasn't very good.

A few years ago David Fincher directed a Nine Inch Nails video for the song Only. Not one of my favorite Nails songs, but an impressive video for sure. When I found out Trent Reznor was doing the soundtrack for this movie, I was ecstatic. A match made in movie heaven. The soundtrack was released a few days before I saw the movie and while the music was awesome, I really couldn't visualize it being the rhythm of a movie about the guy that made Facebook. Happily I was proven otherwise and Reznors score fits perfectly with the movie. Especially during the rowing race sequence, which is also where Finchers directorial talent and pizazz shines brightest and it makes for one of the best scenes. Albeit a scene that has almost nothing to done with the rest of the movie.

The Social Network offers some cool insight into the creation of Facebook, and is a great study on relationships and what effect something popular and huge can on them. It's also got probably the best script of the year, solid direction and great performances, especially from Jesse Eisenberg, who after this will have officially gone from being 'that other Michael Cera' to being Jesse Eisenberg. Jesse, you have arrived.

Rating: *****



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