Saturday, August 20, 2011
Film Review: The Social Network
Alien 3, Seven, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Not a stinker in the bunch. No, not even Alien 3 which I find to be highly underrated. He may be, along with Ridley Scott, one of my favorite directors working today.
So I was very excited to see The Social Network which has received the best critical acclaim of any of Fincher's films to date.
With the screenplay done by Aaron Sorkin the dialogue is quick and witty, though not to the point of being confusing and carries many similarities to Sorkin's work on Sports Night (still a favorite of mine) and A Few Good Men.
Jesse Eisenberg takes the role of Mark Zuckerberg and plays it well. Eisenberg was likely born to play this role as he has a way with playing Jewish nerds with little social skills. I really can't stand Eisenberg in anything else I've seen him in but here, he is both detestable and pathetic. A perfect mix for playing Zuckerberg.
Which gets me to my primary point about this film. If you're over 50 you likely won't have much interest in this film. Actually, I should rephrase that. If you're not up on the developments within social media, Facebook in particular and the amazing story that is behind Facebook, you likely won't have much interest in this film.
The Social Network is a film about and created by a particular generation of America. 25 years from now people will look at this film and story and likely care less. Zuckerberg, his friends, his enemies and his investors are, for the most part, self indulgent douchebags. They're either so focused on coding and computers during the creation of their product or they are so self-deluded into thinking they've changed the world they they have no connection with what's really important. Yup, Zuckerberg created Facebook which has some ungodly number of members. Whooopeee...He took the "Partyline" telephone service and moved it to the Internet. Great...Let me know when this cures cancer, creates world peace or figures out how to travel faster than light.
All that being said, this is still a very good film. Fincher's directing is top notch, the pacing fantastic, and the editing between the two lawsuits and actions they resulted from are beautifully spliced together. The film retains Fincher's typical high contrast lighting style with lots of blacks and shadows and nighttime scenes.
Justin Timberlake continues to reform himself in my mind after his stint as a Mickey Mouse Club member, boyfriend of Britney Spears and singer (?) in NSYNC. Timberlake has continued to keep out of the press and just build his resume through solid performances in good films. As Sean Parker Timberlake is the ultimate in cool bad boy--yet Timberlake still shows his weak side when he flinches and cowers, unable to stand up for himself in a scene late in the film. Timberlake is due for a staring role in a sci-fi film later this year and I think he will carry it well.
I'm not sure The Social Network was the best film of 2010 (as many people claimed it to be) as it simply doesn't have any real emotional resonance that stays with you. Nor does it explore any issue or figure in any sort of in depth manner. In the end, its much like its topic (Facebook)--a good looking diversion for a portion of time, but mostly superficial and without depth.