Perhaps the last thing the world needs now is another positive review of The Social Network. If you haven’t heard already, it’s brilliantly directed — Fincher’s best since Fight Club, easily. The soundtrack, from Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor, is a perfectly balanced mix of classical assonance and digital dissonance. Justin Timberlake’s small role as Shawn Parker, co-founder of Napster, is going to get him an academy award nomination — whether he deserves it or not; but hey, pop-stars are good for ratings and we all know that’s what the Oscars are really about. Every single performance is top-notch and the script’s fantastic — I read it after seeing the film twice. And yeah, if no one’s told you yet, The Social Network is quite possibly a generation defining masterpiece.
If you’ve read about all this already and you still haven’t seen it, stop what you’re doing, get off your ass, and go see the movie!
OK, hyperbole aside. In addition to being a fine piece of craftsmanship by Fincher and Co., The Social Network is also a fascinating character study that traces the origin of that annoyingly addictive, and amazingly — “I can’t believe my grandma has it now!” — popular website: The Facebook.
Jesse Eisenberg — who unquestionably deserves an Oscar nod — plays website co-founder, wiz-kid and supreme smart-ass Mark Zuckerberg. Like him or not, Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg is a personality. Too smart to be angsty, yet not stylish enough to be punk rock, the film portrays him as an intensely motivated genius who saw his moment for greatness and did it his way. Zuckerberg is glorified throughout the film for his youth, his wealth, and most importantly, his ambivalence towards his wealth.
Yet, this isn’t just a film about Zuckerberg. Andrew Garfield (a.k.a. the next Spider-man), plays Eduardo Saverin, the other co-founder of Facebook, and Zuckerberg’s (former) best, and quite possibly only, friend. Seeing as their website is slightly obsessed with the concept of friendship, not surprisingly, the movie tends to play this theme up a fair deal. Much of the film’s conflict finds root in the splintering relationship between Facebook’s brains, Zuckerberg, and its money, Saverin.
Despite all the lying, back-stabbing and law-suits, the film ends with a tone of optimism. As if, Facebook isn’t as scary, intrusive and evil as we all thought. As if, technological advances didn’t occur solely to muddy our waters and fog up our ozone. As if, just maybe, computers can be our friends, or at least help us connect with them.
RATING: After a realization that film’s are not numbers, stars or thumbs, I’ve decided to no longer use ratings. They’re trite.