the fresh films reviews

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The Social Network (2010)

David Fincher
The Social Network
120 minutes
Dana Brunetti
Ceán Chaffin
Michael De Luca
Scott Rudin
Screenwriter (based on the book "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich):
Aaron Sorkin

Cast includes:

Mark Zuckerberg Jesse Eisenberg ˝
Erica Albright Rooney Mara ˝
Cameron Winklevoss / Tyler Winklevoss Armie Hammer
Dustin Moskovitz Joseph Mazzello
Eduardo Saverin Andrew Garfield ˝
Divya Narenda Max Minghella
Sean Parker Justin Timberlake ˝



The Social Network is worth seeing because it presents one version of the story of one of the most successful media creations of our times. Seen with a critical eye, one can extract quite a bit from it, even if very little of it has to do with great, or even good filmmaking.

The film is based on a book by Ben Mezrich, an author whose only relevant first-hand consultant during writing was Eduardo Severin, Mark Zuckerberg's college friend and the co-founder of Facebook, who found himself tricked out of a large share percentage as the company expanded. Consequently, the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin is all about business and intrigues, a guide on how to squeeze virtual money out of virtually anyone, spiced up by Sorkin's trademark quippy dialogue (which incidentally is the best part of the script). The film doesn't care about the people it depicts, least of all the lead character, which Jesse Eisenberg is quite happy to portray as shallow as it is written. We never get under the skin of neither Mark Zuckerberg or any of the other characters, probably because the filmmakers have no profound knowledge of them. Instead, we're given a soapish dramatization which takes liberties where it wants. The film's interest in the people behind the names and facades ultimately is as non-existent as that of the social network it depicts.

David Fincher's direction here is disappointing. All he communicates is pessimism, arrogance and misogyny, and he cannot blame the tendentious, hollow script for all of that. I believe a general conclusion can be that The Social Network was made too soon, with no real historical perspective and arguably based primarily on transcripts of depositions. Just because something is "based on a true story" doesn't exempt the filmmakers from actually having to tell a story. As The Social Network is presented, I would claim that it wouldn't make much sense if you didn't already know all there is to know about Facebook. Makes you wonder how this film will be perceived in 50 years time.

For those interested in computer history: Check out The Pirates of Silicon Valley, about the founding days of Apple and Microsoft, instead. This is also a film about visionary IT entrepreneurs, also about greed, betrayal and youthful ambition, but in contrast to The Social Network, it has soul and perspective.

Copyright © 29.1.2011 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang