Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: The Social Network


The Social Network, David Fincher's latest directorial effort highlights the birth of Facebook and the controversy surrounding the site's rise in popularity. This movie has been critically lauded and praised across the board, receiving a stunning 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Critics are already hailing this film as Best Picture and throwing out Academy Awards to Fincher and Aaron Sorkin (the screenwriter). Of course this got my hopes up big time. I must say that after seeing this last night I was a bit dissapointed.

Fincher does a good job with Sorkin's material in detailing the infancy of Facebook and how Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jessie "Don't call me Michael Cera" Eisenberg) created the site from his dorm room in 2004. We get to see all the key players in the site's creation including Sean Parker (a co-creator of Napster played by the always engaging Justin Timberlake) and the Winklevoss twins (a visual achievement as they are both played by a single actor - Arnie Hammer). The twins feel that Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook and the bulk of the movie focuses on their (and former Facebook COO Eduardo Servin) attempts to sue Zuckerberg. Fincher moves back and forth between present day litigation scenes and historical re-enactments of the events both in NYC and Silicon Valley.

The dialogue is well written and most of the acting is solid. Eisenberg steals the show with his authentic portrayal of awkward nerd/egomaniac Zuckerberg. Trent Reznor's score is intense and fits really well into the context of the movie. The early scenes that focus on Zuckerberg's blogging and coding are legit and really do make sense from a technical perspective. As someone in the tech industry, I really did appreciate the authenticity of those scenes.

Overall though I just wasn't overwhelmed by this movie. The scope seems limited and I think they could have done more in exploring the global rise of Facebook beyond college campuses. There is too much cutting between lawyers discussing lawsuits with clients and college kids exploring their ambitions. I think they movie would have played better if the narrative was more linear. The Social Network gets a reluctant 3.5 JR rating from me (I was leaning towards 3 JRs last night but Fincher's direction and the CGI scenes with the twins bumped it up a notch) and I do think it will get some undeserving critical acclaim. The Academy loves Fincher and Sorkin so I think this film might be tough to beat for Best Picture unfortunately. This film pales in comparison to Inception in my opinion. The originality and cinematography of Christopher Nolan's masterpiece is head and shoulders above what I saw in the Facebook movie. It's hard for me to admit it but I actually enjoyed the "other" Facebook movie more than this one.

3 comments:

Rushputin said...

I really enjoyed it... but didn't think it was Best Picture material.

Mommy, Esq. said...

I think I will like the fast-paced dialog that Aaron Sorkin is famous for. I suspect it is similar to Bringing Down the House with respect to how good it is. I also think I'd like some more younger kid background on him but he wouldn't cooperate. Ha, ha on "don't call me Michael Cera" - but I did love him in Zoombieland.

Preston said...

Excellent film, great dialog.