The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network (2010) — SECOND REVIEW [Blu Ray] A lot has been made since this film’s initial release about what really happened and what was invented.  Although I may sound like a broken record since I bring this up every single time such a “controversy” arises, who the hell cares?  A good movie is a good movie and The Social Network is a great movie.  And if real life didn’t play out the ay Aaron Sorkin imagines it really doesn’t matter.  Even within the moving there’s a bit of Rashomon-style doubt cast upon the narrative.  Mark Zuckerberg (as played by Jessie Eisenberg) flat out says that the opening scene did not occur and one of his lawyers (Rashida Jones) has a great line about how “emotional testimony” is “85% exaggerated.”  The other 15%?  “Perjury.”  Something I’m surprised escaped controversy is that British actor Max Minghella wears dark-skinned make-up to play Divya Narendra (the American son of Indian immigrants).  But I guess no one was paying attention and it’s not like Minghella or the film does anything racist.  It’s just this sort of thing has caused controversy before.  Anyway that’s hardly relevant to the merits of the film itself.  As usual David Fincher has crafted an amazing looking film, which should surprise no one at this point.  The cast is uniformly excellent and the script is amazing.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross craft an amazing score (especially their Wendy Carlos-esque treatment of “Hall of the Mountain King”).  I still don’t know if this movie defines the epoch as some say it does, but I no longer doubt that it’s great. FIRST REVIEW [In theaters] So you are reading this review (probably) on a little website called Facebook [Edit: since the Living Social app was discontinued, you’re obviously not reading this on Facebook right now but at the time I wrote this it was true].  While not the first social networking site, it’s currently the most popular with apparently the most interesting backstory so it gets a movie.  This is one of those eye-roll-inducing pieces of news I heard a few months back about the same time that I heard that the board game Battleship was being made into a movie.  However some things soon piqued my interest.  The first was that A Few Good Men/The American President/Sports Night/The West Wing/Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip/Charlie Wilson’s War writer Aaron Sorkin was scripting this movie (based on the book The Accidental Billionaires).  The second was that Oscar nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button/Fight Club/The Game/Zodiac/Seven/Panic Room/Alien 3 director David Fincher was helming.  So, as you might imagine from that pedigree, the movie is actually pretty damn good.  I don’t know if it defines the decade the way some people are saying, but it makes for a couple hours of very compelling viewing.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (fun fact: Jesse’s cousin works for Facebook… hope Mark likes the movie…).  Zuckerberg is an asshole (in the movie anyway).  This is set up pretty clearly in the first scene when he has a conversation that quickly (and oh do I mean quickly) becomes a fight with his girlfriend (played by Rooney Mara, star of Fincher’s next film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) who by the end of the scene becomes his ex-girlfriend.  This sends him to his dorm room computer where he sets up a Hot-Or-Not style website that crashes Harvard’s servers.  Shortly thereafter Facebook is invented.  Of course whether it’s invented by Zuckerberg or by Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss, who try to recruit Zuckerberg to help write their very similar website, is the subject of much speculation and litigation (the movie takes the “he stole it” route).  One and a half of the Winklevoss twins are played with some flawless special effects by Armie Hammer.  He plays Cameron Winklevoss while a stand-in named Josh Pence plays Tyler, then Hammer’s face (and voice) were digitally pasted onto Pence’s body (kind of like Arnold in that last horrible Terminator movie… but much much better).  It works perfectly and I wouldn’t have even noticed if it wasn’t pointed out to me.  Much of the movie is told through testimony given during two separate lawsuits: Zuckerberg v. Winklevoss twins (and their partner Divya Narendra, played by Max Minghella) and Zuckerberg v. Eduardo Saverin, Facebook’s co-founder and CFO.  A good chunk of the movie is devoted to how the Facebook group goes from programmers in a dorm room to the cool kids of Silicon Valley.  Multiplatinum recording artist Justin Timberlake plays the douche who ruined the music industry Sean Parker (I know that’s debatable, but I liked record stores dammit… especially ones that employed me), who wants in on Facebook and wins Mark over with his fast talk and partying lifestyle (he’s introduced after a one night stand with a Stanford student).  It’s Timberlake’s best role to date (I thought he was good in Alpha Dog and Black Snake Moan).  The film has generated a massive amount of hype (though the theater I saw it in was about a third full at 7:30 on a Friday night) and talk of Oscar nominations.  It was a very good movie though I am unsure about claims of its greatness.  I think I will need to watch it again, probably if/when it gets Oscar nominates for Best Picture (remember there’s 10 now), Writer (Sorkin), Actor (Eisenberg), and Director (Fincher).

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