The Social Network (2010)

“Look, a guy who builds a nice chair doesn't owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair, okay? They came to me with an idea, I had a better one.”“Look, a guy who builds a nice chair doesn't owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair, okay? They came to me with an idea, I had a better one.”

“Look, a guy who builds a nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair, okay? They came to me with an idea, I had a better one.”

Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all slightly obsessed (some more than others) with social media let alone Facebook. It’s a one stop online social destination for anyone to catch up with family, friends, news & create an online presence amidst billions of strangers. What a way to create an identity and standout in a sea full of people. I can admit it, I find myself constantly scrolling through social media, Facebook included at all hours of the day – part of it is habit and the other part is curiosity on how people are doing (for the most part). That’s exactly what Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) set out to do in 2003 as a college sophomore when he was attending the most prestigious college in the country: Harvard. 

The Facebook is cool, it’s a party, why advertise and monetize the party when they didn’t know what it was at the time? This philosophy is what starts the fracture that is Mark and Eduardo’s (Andrew Garfield) friendship. After that, It’s all downhill from there. The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin is dialogue heavy since the majority of the film takes place in a litigation setting – taking place simultaneously in the present and in the past. Mark is being sued by Eduardo for being pushed out of the company he co-founded as CFO and by the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) for theft of intellectual property. 

Being a Sorkin screenplay, the dialogue controls the direction of the narrative. Majority of the dramatization in The Social Network that is derived from Sorkin is based on the novel The Accidental Billionaires written by Ben Mezrich. Even with the higher intelligent dialogue between characters, Sorkin’s screenplay is easy enough to follow along to while the majority of what is spoken is about the characters relationships with one another. 

For director David Fincher, this is his second film that isn’t a straightforward thriller with twists, turns and plot twists. The Fight Club & Panic Room director still puts his signature style all over this film. From the opening scene between Mark and Erica (Rooney Mara) the camera shits its focused on both characters back and forth as they discuss a club known as the Phoenix. These shifts between the two set the tone for the quick pacing that comes to follow. The Social Network’s pacing is excellent, it’s Fincher’s speciality – starting fast and slowing down when the timing is right. It can be argued the quick shifts between scenes, characters and dialogue represents how fast Mark’s mind works when he gets an idea. It’s in this first scene that Mark is presented as pretentious and arrogant whenever he opens his mouth. The problem is Mark doesn’t and will never see the error in his ways. As much as he is the main focus in this story, he also serves as the villain. 

At times we can sympathize with Mark and at times his actions prove he isn’t a good person. I mean he drunk blogs about Erica (a made-up character) after they break up on the internet and calls her a bitch. Dating Mark is mentally exhausting but maybe he just made bad decisions – regardless, Mark isn’t a good friend, at least that’s the bias in Sorkin’s script. 

Just like with Fincher’s previous films, tension fills every scene. And although the tension isn’t built from anxiety induced moments, the tension is built by Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay and the dialogue spoken by each character. Every character is panic striken to the point of that panic and anxiousness grabbing you through the green and passing it along to the viewer.

No matter how badly people see themselves as being good, money and greed will change that 100% of the time. Money, lies and greed influenced Mark to betray and alienate his friend, dilute his shares of the company and tarnish his reputation.

The Social Network is an accidental modern masterpiece. That’s not to say there was any doubt that it would be a good film but a film about smart white college aged kids mostly speaking and arguing over money shouldn’t be this good by any means but it’s astonishing how good it is. The film is anchored by its palpable performances by all involved. Eisenberg and Garfield both give poignant performances that you can feel the actual bitterness and betrayal between the two one-time friends. Adding Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) the mix is the equivalent to adding a wolverine to any kind of fight between two animals. With how precise, locked in and diligent Mark is with anything involving Facebook, Sean is a wildcard. It’s because of him that Mark betrays Eduardo or at least plays the devil half on Mark’s shoulder. If that is accurate or not to how the actual events played out, it remains to be seen but having the events told by three different perspectives gives the film a sense of completeness. With any biographical story civil liberties will always be taken to better suit the story that’s being presented.  That much will always be true no matter if the story is being told straight from the horse’s mouth or not. 

By no means should a film about borderline sociopathic geniuses be this interesting, gripping and thrilling, but it is. David Fincher captures these emotions in every scene which pairs nicely with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s pulse pounding, loud and abrasive score. Fincher has a way with his directing that easily builds anticipation from once scene to the next. What happens, get to the next scene already, how will this get resolved? The Social Network is a necessary film for those that grew up in the digital age. At this time when Facebook was being “invented” the only competition was Friendster and Myspace. Facebook Is the cool uncle that everyone loves, and it has remained that way despite the unhealthy addiction that social media can cause. The Social Network is a masterpiece, it deserves all the accolades and praise from top to bottom. 

The Social Network is written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by David Fincher is Rated R and has an 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Social Network was released on October 1, 2010 in the United States and has a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. The Social Network can be bought by online retailers like iTunes, Amazon and Google. 5 out of 5.

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