Friday, March 30, 2012

Random Movie Review: The Social Network

"I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing."

David Fincher has been on my bad side ever since I saw The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. So, take this review with a grain of salt if you are a David Fincher fan.

The Social Network has all the ingredients of a good movie, and that may be why it fooled so many people into thinking it actually was.  It looks good, its a compelling story that writes itself, the music is solid and not overbearing, and the acting is very good in spite of the script.

Aaron Sorkin wrote The Social Network, and he has a lengthy resume of creating entertaining movies as well as The West Wing. His scripts typically have an easy flow to them and The Social Network is no different. There are some issues, of course. This is not a story that can be adequately told in a two hour movie, The Social Network was two hours, draw your own conclusions.  Usually studios refuse to let movies go over two and a half hours(See Kingdom of Heaven, a travesty of mandated studio edits butchering an all time classic into just a very good movie).  The whole movie felt rushed.

They also threw in some standard thematic tropes that are both cliche and annoying. Mark Zuckerberg is painted as an insufferable ass for nearly the entire movie, but of course, they had to throw in a little human emotion story of him developing as a person to underpin his characters whole saga. And they created a fictional girlfriend who breaks up with him, which prompts him to make Harvard's Hot or Not and opens the door for Zuckerberg to create Facebook. Must we throw in a human emotion story to make the creation of Facebook for palatable? The story sells itself!

 The twins, who sue Zuckerberg, are hilariously entertaining, and are the highlight of the movie. But they seem more charicatures than actual characters. Doing some research, they might actually be this way in real life, so, an addendum to the criticism.  Sean Parker, of Napster fame, comes off as a manipulative loser, but they cast him with Justin Timberlake, a guy almost universally likeable. 

I don't remember the name of the actor, or the character he played, but the original Facebook C.F.O. was the most sympathetic, and relatable character in the film, and the acting was superb.

Some closing thoughts, this movie is worth a viewing, because its a good story.  But what makes it a good story is not what the movie chooses to focus on. It dances around the relevance of facebook and hones in on the human element, or, the human element that they choose to focus on. 

It's a reoccuring theme, the story, isn't THE story.

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