Reaction: The Social Network (2010)
There are three sides to every story. Yours, mine, and the truth. David Fincher’s The Social Network is as much about Facebook as Rocky was about boxing. “The Facebook movie” that many people are skeptical about centers on the creation of the social networking site, with relationships, success and greed getting in the way. That’s just a starting point for this landmark movie, one of the best in years.
On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history…but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.
I won’t go into the story more than I did above, and I know if you’re reading this than you must have seen the trailer or have an interest in seeing the film, so some spoiler free insight won’t hurt, here you are. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin captures three different perspectives in his storytelling leaving it up to the brilliant David Fincher to direct the narrative which creates for some exciting movie watching. The cast is amazing with Jesse Eisenberg in the lead as our tragic character we love to hate, a stunning performance that must earn him recognition. Add on a fantastic soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and you have yourself a highly recommend movie. When The Social Network was first announced, I like most people was skeptical, why the hell are they making a movie about Facebook?
Then something happened; the great and powerful people behind it all did something very rare in Hollywood – they let the movie speak for itself. They knew they had a hit on their hands with names like director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin. The advertising for this movie could have been relentless and tiring, and yet they held back. Its fast-paced dialogue and coding scenes are as exciting as most action movie stunts. So here we are, opening weekend and I have seen The Social Network, one of the best movies of the year and hopefully a new standard for future storytelling at the movies.
I think the most satisfying aspect of all this is that for the first time in a long time, the viewer was given some credit. Someone figured that this generation of moviegoers was smarter than Hollywood was letting on. They didn’t dumb the movie down; the discussions about logarithms and code speak to geeks everywhere, it’s honest and true. We see screen shots of people’s computers and know that it’s a real OS we are looking at and not some copyright free prop. Harrison Ford didn’t run in with his daughter’s iPod and use it to crack a firewall. I’m not saying that audiences everywhere have always been smart; there is a reason why Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer keep making movies. Audiences just haven’t been given a chance, well here it is people.
The critics will say that the movie defined a generation, maybe it will. And maybe movies will go on to treat that same generation with a little more respect and smarts. I know I’m not the only one who feels embarrassed when the adult says “Internet” in a movie. The Social Network is for people who like smart and entertaining films. Please don’t stick your nose up at this movie “about facebook”; it’s going to surprise you. This is engrossing, immersive storytelling at its best.