Review: ‘The Social Network’

Tuesday, September 21 by

The Social Network is the movie of the year. If Coppola were into computers, this would be The Godfather. Should I have gone with Scorsese and Goodfellas? I think it’s the cooler reference but The Godfather is more legendary and Social Network deserves the comparison.

The dialogue is so Aaron Sorkin, meaning they skip around a conversation to be clever, or two brothers speak like one person. It’s an awesome balance of keeping up with the threads and conveying all the information. It makes me love the writer but hate the characters for talking like that. After all, you’re supposed to hate Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg).

Bravo for a film having an unlikable protagonist. These are the outlaws. They’re mean, amoral and criminal, but damned if they’re not admirable. They’re so smart and powerful, these are people you don’t want in your life but he’s fascinating. 

Master editing conveys the excitement of this world. You understand all the hacking, and a small world goes on behind Mark’s head. This makes computers more exciting than any hacker movie I’ve seen previously.

It’s the little details that elevate the filmmaking to master status. Fincher captures the tone, the sound, the lighting of administration meetings, boardrooms, hearings, lecture halls. Club music actually drowns out dialogue. It’s not reinventing film language. It’s just using the tools correctly. It’s also got the best use of closing text (the “where they are now” info) I’ve ever seen.

The rhythm of the dialogue creates a lot of the film’s excitement. Forgive the cliché, but it’s pulse pounding because it literally speeds up your listening rhythms. You feel the rise and fall of the dramatic build. The ambient musical score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross helps too, along with the staging and editing.

Little elements of our modern culture ar buried in the story. All the abbreviations we now commonly use online get their start somewhere, the lingo gets invented or scenes are devoted to the creation of Facebook profile elements like relationship status.

The performances are so distinct; the characters are unlike any of the stereotypes they represent. Jocks, nerds and rich kids are individuals in this movie, barely identifiable by their superficial identifiers. It’s true, Justin Timberlake gives a transformative performance. You may think he’s playing Sean Parker as the rock star, but you realize he’s actually the Devil. Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) becomes the heart and soul of the movie.

There’s one scene I thought looked like the cold breath was added in CGI and it looked fake. If I’m wrong, then that means nature looks fake. Another fun observation that’s just Hollywood conceit is that all the computer programmers are thin and have good skin. Hey, if you’re doing the glamorous version of the Facebook story, that’s the way to do it. As The Social Network brilliantly proves, glamorizing computers can in fact be cool.