Have you joined The Social Network yet?
Let me start with the very obvious thought that had come to my mind, when I first heard about the movie. It must be a bad movie! I mean, it is awkward to imagine a movie on ‘facebook’ and ‘interesting’ in the same sentence. Well actually it works, interestingly – and at many levels.
It is definitely a movie that speaks of the current age but more on that later.
In 2003, Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg creates a website called “Facemash” to rate the attractiveness of female Harvard undergraduates. The site is a runaway success, getting 22,000 hits in less than two hours and crashes Harvard’s server.
Punished with academic probation, Mark gets himself a job as the programmer for the website, Harvard Connection, initiated by Winklevoss twins. However, Mark in partnership with his friend, Eduardo, takes the idea further and launches what he calls “TheFacebook”.
With the growing popularity of The Facebook, they expand to other schools. Soon, Mark and Eduardo meet Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who suggests that they drop “The” from “TheFacebook”. Facebook shifts base to Palo Alto and gets its first investment from an Angel Investor, again through Parker’s contacts.
On the face of it
It looks like a plain and uninspiring story, doesn’t it? Actually, this is more or less the story known to many of us about Facebook. And that is the reason I have purposely left a lot of key points, unsaid here. These are the points that make for a great movie viewing experience with The Social Network.
This movie sets its tone at the very outset and takes no time in coming to the point. Even the narrative structure is very smartly executed with storylines interjecting with each other from time to time. Let me state here that executing broken timelines in terms of screenplay is a very big challenge.
But Aaron Sorkin leaves no room for dull moments, adapting his screenplay from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires. His choice of dialogues is very unique. Look out for rapid-fire dialogues; they are a good showcase of Sorkin’s genius writing style. “You’re not an a***ole, you’re just trying so hard to be”.
Even though the film is about facebook, don’t expect it to have a wall post you could simply read and decipher. Like David Fincher’s previous works, “Se7en” and “Fight Club”, the focus stays on things behind the scenes. Stuff like greed, deception and friendship gets a lot of mentions. If you have followed his style of filmmaking, you would understand when I say that this film is truly a Fincher film.
The cinematography of this film is absolutely brilliant. Fincher, with his director of photography Jeff Cronenweth, captures a distinct look like his previous films. Shot using the RED one camera, the framing and lighting is simply incredible. At the same time, the focal point of every scene is kept intact. If one was to convert random frames from the movie into a photograph and enter a contest, the results are obvious.
Though the cast consists of new-comers or unknowns, the movie is an acting powerhouse. Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg deserves a special mention. Known mostly for his comic roles till now, Eisenberg excels as a cold and calculated anti-hero whose ambitions are beyond the ordinary. Andrew Garfield as his best friend and co-founder of Facebook, is very true to his sympathetic character. These are the actors to watch out for in the coming years!
Even Justin Timberlake surprises you as the bankrupt Napster founder, Sean Parker. Arnie Hammer is remarkable in double role of Winklevoss twins.
- David Fincher was under contract to keep this movie’s running time close to two hours. For the same, he asked his actors to deliver their dialogues at a faster pace.
- Two unrelated actors were chosen for the role of Winklevoss twins. However, in the movie, we only see Arnie Hammer. This is because Arnie Hammer was shot speaking the lines of both the brothers and interlaced using CGI.
I think it is a great irony that the creator of the ultimate social networking platform lost acceptance from everyone that once befriended him. It is rightly said that greed sees nothing else. And when it does, being at the top becomes all the more lonely. With so many youngsters turning entrepreneurs, this should prove to be a significant film.
Ambitions and aspirations make for a good economy but relationships make for a great society.