“A guy who makes a nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair” The Social Network (2010)
“I honestly didn’t think you would have enough balls to post all the shit about fucking that tiger, mate.”
With hindsight, I shouldn’t really have bemoaned a facebook movie when it was in the hands of David Fincher.
Of course he would be able to take a sorry tale of backstabbing, bitching, stretched-out legal wrangling and turn it into a riveting slice of cinema.
Played in a straight time line, The Social Network would have been a non-event, but Fincher’s strength lies with his editing on this one. Building the story, and the relationships, via flashback. Cut with the courtroom drama, the building of a billion dollar empire from small beginnings draws you right in – even if you couldn’t give a fuck about social networking.
Having only read bits and pieces surrounding the troubled world of The Facebook, I can’t make informed judgements on who is telling the truth, and who is a god damn liar, and who the real villain is…all I do know is that the opening scene? With Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend? That succeeds in letting you know exactly what version of Zuckerberg you might be getting. We find out what is important to him in those opening minutes, where he is coming from. It’s all about the names, the institutions – the who you know, not what you know. Who accepts you, and who doesn’t. Where you’re from and where you gained your education. Exclusivity. The need to look for hidden statements in everything his lady friend says does kind of hint at the capacity he could have for turning into a paranoid wreck.
In those opening minutes I found Jesse Eisenberg to be playing a complete dick, but to call Zuckerberg a dick is maybe unfair, because it soon becomes clear that he is extremely intelligent – and deep down there is someone who may have feelings – he just seems disconnected to almost everyone around him. His social interactions (as played by Eisenberg) have an awkwardness to them, as though he’s not fully aware of the impact anything he says or does will have on the people concerned. He is doing something new, and exciting, and working on it twenty four seven. Who wouldn’t seem a little detached and uninterested in others? In his defence, he didn’t really steal anything from the ‘Winklevii’ as he calls them, but yes – he did piss off some rich boys used to getting their own way. Nice work from Armie Hammer and his body double on those bastards. That rowing scene? Holy shit that was some great cinematography, wasn’t it?
The friendship-turned-sour aspect is the main driving force of the film, with the business dream of two best friends interfered with by a man who loves the sound of his own voice, and believes his own publicity – no matter what kind of shit he’s in. Justin Timberlake was pretty good as Napster founder Sean Parker. A showman, seemingly dazzling the impressionable Zuckerberg, and coercing him to edge out buddy Eduardo Saverin…bad times. Saverin did have a business head, but couldn’t deliver the goods as quickly as the arrogant Parker, so bollocks to loyalty, eh? Punch Parker’s face in, Eduardo! Knock his fucking lights out! Sorry, I’m getting carried away on Ben Mezrich‘s one-sided wave.
Andrew Garfield is fast becoming a name I’m instantly drawn to though, and as Richard Bodsworth points out over at ReelScotland, it is a shame that in a few years he’ll only be known as Spider-Man. Mind you, on the plus side – now the world isn’t set to end in 2012 – I’m sure I could find a use for the obligatory ‘Andrew Garfield 2013’ calendar that will no doubt be produced.
So yes, the site designed to bring people together, form networks and nurture friendships did the exact opposite for most of those involved in its creation. Good they all eventually got some cash in the process, and maybe an upgrade in the looks department from Fincher.
Film that defines an era? I have no idea.
What it captures perfectly in certain scenes is the spirit of the internet – the distance from real life it can offer. The instant freedom to do things, and say things that you normally wouldn’t. The consequences are never thought about when the most apparently insignificant of things are posted. As Zuckerberg’s girlfriend says after he publicly humiliates her on his blog, “The internet’s not written in pencil, Mark. It’s written in ink.” Everything is laid out bare for all to see. His defence of comparing girls to farm animals is that he was drunk and angry and stupid and blogging. Nobody thinks of the backlash, nobody really thinks to edit. But isn’t that half the fun?
There is nothing I can write here about The Social Network that you can’t read anywhere else, I have no new insights to offer, so why I am typing this?
Because it is a more productive waste of my time on the internet than repeatedly hitting refresh on a facebook page I wish I had never even signed up for.
When things get that bad? Hand me a gun. At least thanks to Fincher I can think of the Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack and blowjobs in toilets when the ‘notification’ emails show up.
~ by Mondo Ghosto on 25/10/2010.