Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Social Network

The Social Network, 2010
Directed by David Fincher
Won 3 Oscars: Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score
Lost BP To: The King's Speech
Up Against: The King's Speech, Black Swan, The Kid's Are Alright, Winter's Bone, True Grit, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, Inception

Last year, I was a huge huge fan of the King's Speech, and rooted for it all the way. After the nominees came out for Best Picture, I decided I should probably see what the big fuss was about for The Social Network, it's biggest competitor. Whether it was bias, or because it truly didn't strike my fancy, I wasn't a fan. I didn't see why it was getting attention, though it was an average, kind of dull movie, and completely dismissed it.

Now, about a year later, I've decided to give it another chance. Why? Because I've become a fan of Andrew Garfield, having watched him in Never Let Me Go and the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, both of which he was fantastic. Also, having dismissed the Original Score as well, thinking How to Train Your Dragon should've won, I also picked that up again, and while I knew it was just okay on it's own, it probably rocked with the movie. Thus, I picked it up from the library and settled down and watched it tonight.

This is the story of Facebook, and the people behind it. Mark Zuckerburg is a computer genius, even before he started Facebook. He was going to Harvard, and was able to create websites in an evening, while drunk, that would gain 22,000 hits in one night, and crash the Harvard network. That's the kind of guy he is. When he's approached by the Winklevoss twins to program a website for them, Harvard Connection. It's an exclusive facebook/social network for Harvard University students. Mark initially says he's in, but then he deems their idea lame, doesn't tell them he's out for 6 weeks, and starts up his own social networking site, TheFacebook, for Harvard students with his best friend Eduardo Saverin.

The story revolves around Mark, obviously, and just how he rolls to the beat of his own drum. Doing things with Eduardo's money before asking him for said money, teaming up with Napster-creator gone broke, Sean Parker, moving to California to set up his business, and eventually betraying Eduardo. Mark is given to us a cold-hearted college student. The only person he really cares about is himself. And that shines through in every moment we see Mark. Though we know at the heart of the matter, Mark wants acceptance. And he does this through creating Facebook. It's an interest flip-flop, seeing this in the opening scene with Erica, and then the lawsuit scenes. In the end, you can't have worldwide acceptance, and keep your best friends, it seems.

This movie moves back and forth from the past (creation of Facebook/Harvard) and the present (lawsuits). It's almost as though this film is a supplement and evidence in the cases. We see the scenes as they come up in the suits, sometimes with description and narration from Mark or Eduardo. And we are taken, linearly through the process of the creation of Facebook. The "stealing" from the Winklevoss's, the creation and programming of TheFacebook, with Mark and Eduardo, the college celebrity phase, the move to LA and teaming with Sean Parker, and the Business Deal. It's well told, with not too much narration (but a sufficient amount), and not too much back and forth between the two (though, again, sufficient, that we don't forget about it, and it keeps us wondering what went wrong with Mark and Eduardo).

The screenplay, written by Aaron Sorkin, is whip-smart, witty, and just so geeky. It is said that the opening scene between Erica and Mark was 8 script pages long, and took 99 takes to get right. And I believe both those facts. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay was really great. He has such a talent for turning okay subject into really great movies (see Moneyball).

Additionally, the movie was well acted, and it garnered Jesse Eisenberg a Lead Actor nomination. Though, if anyone should've been nominated, it should've been Andrew Garfield. He's a really strong actor, and that's also true for this film. He has so much passion, and you can see it in every line he speaks in this film (with a wonderful American accent to boot). Of all the acting in this film, I'd say he was definitely the strongest, especially with his moment of confrontation, at the end, with Mark. He plays that so perfectly.

Overall, the film was good, but not Best Picture worthy. I understand the nomination, but still agree it shouldn't have won. It was a well told film, with an interesting(ish) story, but I don't think it'll stand the test of time well, since it's such a modern piece. Not that modern is bad, or that Best Picture's need to stand the test of time, but it's a very here-and-now movie, and while it was good, it wasn't amazing.


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