THE SOCIAL NETWORK (ORIGINAL REVIEW)


2010

8/10

DIRECTOR: David Fincher

Wow, just isn’t the word for this. Screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin on writing this claimed that even though it revolved around the creation of Facebook, this wasn’t really about the social network. This was about its troubled creator, Mark Zuckerberg and his relationships with the few who could bear to close to him.

It is really about Zuckerburg’s lack of social networking ability and that the 21st centuries social revolution was spurred on by a man with not a true friend in the world, having destroyed his only real friendship, with FB’s co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, brilliantly played by Andrew Garfield in a stand out performance.

That’s not to sell any member, and I mean any member of the cast short and this was an actor’s film, expertly directed by Fincher as well as being one of the definitive collaborations with a screenwriter, in the form of Sorkin. The script is up to the usual excellent standards of Sorkin’s works, and kudos to Fincher for managing to direct with theatrical flare a 120 minutes of intense dialogue.

And this cohesion was never more evident that in the Zuckerberg opening act, as he creates Facemash, a site designed to compare “hot and not” girls on Harvard’s campus, after a typical Sorkin penned break up scene that will certainly raise a chuckle or two. This led to what was effectively an academic action sequence where Zuckerberg explained his thought processes and methods of hacking and programming as he, in the course of few hours, whilst hurting, drunk and blogging, creates what would now be a bog standard Facebook app.

The styles of this film are pitch perfect, from the direction, performances and structure, and Sorkin’s ability to manage a story which is told from the viewpoints of two deposition rooms at separate times, and the early days of Facebook’s genesis in 2004, without losing the plot, literally is genius, as was Fincher’s ability to bring that to the screen without US losing it.

But having said all that, this should be a 10/10, but even though it did everything right, what it failed to do was to fully engross me. And even though it moved me, made me laugh several times, especially with scene with Zuckerberg’s other rivals, the Winklevoss’s or “Winklevie” and he refered to them, as they claim that he stole Facebook from them, in a meeting with Harvard’s president, when he promptly laughs the Olympic rowers out of his office in one of the most comic moments in the film, the was still something missing.

The Social Network also refuses to take a position on the truth, instead presenting all sides of the argument as they are, which is spot on in my opinion. The facts are the facts, and what was or wasn’t said in private conversations in neither here nor there, but the facts are presented in this film for us to digest but who had rights to Facebook are not really the point.

The point is that Mark Zuckerberg invented the ultimate Social Network, and he is a man driven by the same needs are you or I, the need to impress those around us and in his case, the woman who got away. The only person who comes out looking truly bad in this film though is Shawn Parker, the self styled “Entrepreneur” and inventor of Napster.

He is portrayed as a sleazy manipulator by Justin Timberlake, and very well might I add, as he pushes Mark to take step after step to push the eponymous Social Network to new heights.

In the end, this was a masterful film, crafted to the highest standards, but the story was a little thin on the ground, namely because it is just a baby,  not even ten years old. But the simplicity of the story does give us plenty of breathing room in favour of the complexity of its telling but I just felt that it was a little underwhelming as a result.

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