Friday, April 26, 2013

The Social Network Movie Review

Chances are, you're on Facebook. If you are, you should "like" the Dustin Off The Reels Page and follow us there, too. At any rate, Facebook has changed the way people connect with one another and how we communicate. It's also made its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, the second youngest self-made billionaire. It was not an easy struggle to get to that point, and the movie The Social Network (2010) shows us that story.
On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a flurry of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. Despite his growing success and five hundred million people he had friended along the way, there were many eager to see him fall. Chief among them was Zuckerberg's former college friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), whose generous financial contributions to Facebook served as the seed that helped the company to sprout. Zuckerberg's bold venture wouldn't have evolved into a cultural juggernaut had it not been for Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) spreading the word in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, the Winklevoss Twins (both played by Armie Hammer)  engage Zuckerberg in a fierce courtroom battle for ownership of Facebook that left many suspecting the young entrepreneur might have let his greed eclipse his better judgment.
I've heard The Social Network called "Facebook: the Movie" by a number of people. While Facebook certainly moves the story forward, the movie is about bigger ideas than an abstract reality like a website. There are a lot of powerful themes that go on in The Social Network; friendship, loyalty, jealousy, classism, power struggles, betrayal, social interaction, and lawsuits all manifest themselves in this compelling drama. Much of the struggle to get Facebook into the virtual powerhouse that it is now, resulted from modern ambition in a world of old business practices that were not yet up to speed with the growing virtual world.
Really this story could have been about the invention of anything, television, cameras, the first pulleys, etc. But what The Social Network is at its core, is about two friends who create something incredible that ultimately ends in breaking up their friendship. It's not really a happy movie; most legal dramas aren't pleasant affairs, but this one doesn't even have a clear cut protagonist to be rooting for. You genuinely feel sorry for just about every character at some point in the movie.
The Social Network is incredibly well written. It's a dialogue-intensive movie, and the dialogue is so well written that even scenes that would probably be boring to watch otherwise remain compelling and interesting. Zuckerberg's lines are often convoluted and confusing when he is trying to socialize with others, illustrating his social ineptitude. And when he's having to defend himself in court, he is a hard-biting logical machine that runs circles around the lawyers. Also, the movie has lots of dialogue that features two sets of jargon that make no sense to me: techno-babble and legalese. And yet, the legal proceedings and programming terminology are used and written in such a way that makes it all clear and easy to follow without having to be dumbed down to accomodate slow-wits in the audience as so many other movies do.
The acting was impressive. Eisenberg is known for playing the clueless "nice guy," but here he's like a blunt, fast-talking arrogant logician and is a heat-seeking missile in search of his own goals. Timberlake plays the highly charismatic and borderline insane Sean Parker who is both a hot shot and Zuckerberg's intellectual equal. Andrew Garfield plays an honest friend who is simply not the right man to be the CFO of the company that took off without him; he's a tragic character who deserves sympathy.
I liked The Social Network a great deal. It features a phenomenal cast, great acting, an outstanding script, and is a story to which nearly everyone on the planet can relate. Facebook is something that has arisen in the past few years and has changed the world dramatically. While parts of The Social Network was fictionalized, it's mostly accurate. It's a well-written drama and I enjoyed it. I highly recommend seeing this movie even if you aren't a fan of drama movies in general. And if you are a fan of good dramas, this one is worth owning.

What is a contemporary historical event you would like to see made into a movie? I think the down fall of the brick-and-mortar book store might be interesting, if a little depressing. Comment below and tell me about your idea!

1 comment:

  1. This looks good; I might try and rent it. I remember when facebook first came out, I would constantly be going on there to check and see if my school was on the list, which it finally was in 2006. I seriously wonder how much more I would have kept in touch with my friends from high school if facebook would have come along 5 years earlier.