Social Distancing Film Fest: Film #1- The Social Network

Image result for the social network

The Social Network is a character study of Mark Zuckerberg, a compelling legal drama and a fascinating look at the creation of the largest website of all time. 

Aaron Sorkin is the closest thing to an auteur in the realm of screenwriting today. His style is instantly recognizable and while many have tried to replicate it, he’s the only one who can seem to make it work.  Let’s be real, this is not how people talk, but in the hands of a talented writer like Sorkin, the hyper-intelligent dialogue is slick and more importantly, effortless. It’s difficult to look away from this movie for even a second knowing you could miss a piece of clever, crisp dialogue. This is a story anyone who’s ever used Facebook knows the way it’s going to end. Instead, Sorkin chooses to hang this story on the hallmarks of any good one: Friendship, love loss, deceit, betrayal. 

This is Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s first foray into film scoring and it is exceptional. This score won them an Oscar and deservedly so.   It begins with this somber, understated use of a piano as Zuckerberg, dejected and in low spirits, treks back to his dorm as this foreboding sense of anger wells up. More than anything, this score stands out. So many film scores I hear today struggle to do that settling for this bland, unassuming sound. There is a lack of boldness and ambition among many film composers that frustrates me deeply. This score is vibrant, dynamic, propulsive and largely responsible for how seamlessly The Social Network flows and boy, does this film flow. There is very little time wasted in telling this story. There’s confidence in the storytelling that makes this film easy to digest and genuinely exciting to watch as it unfolds and that’s something that only the best movies can do.

The entire cast is very good overall, but Jesse Eisenberg is kind of incredible in this film. This role requires great amounts of subtlety and nuance and Eisenberg rises to the challenge. Eisenberg has played this kind of role several times before and after the release of this film (Zombieland, Rio, and others come to mind), but never with this utter lack of sensitivity. Beneath blank looks and a seemingly ruthless demeanor, Zuckerberg is someone who cares deeply and those rare moments where Eisenberg shows the tiniest bit of regret or sorrow for how things have gone are the moments that most strongly define his performance. 

Eisenberg may have him beat in terms of screentime, but Justin Timberlake’s turn as Sean Parker is the most difficult role in the film. He comes into the film nearly halfway through when we’ve already spent far more time with Zuckerberg and Saverin and has to cement himself as this force that Zuckerberg would sacrifice some of his most valuable friendships to appease. The choice to cast a literal popstar in the role of Zuckerberg’s idol is an inspired one. Timberlake is charismatic and charming, but also deeply unlikable. His performance plays into both Zuckerberg’s and Savarin’s impressions of who he is- someone who could help Facebook grow exponentially or someone who could destroy everything they’ve built. It confounds me that within 6 years that Timberlake would go from a pivotal role in a David Fincher film to Trolls, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Andrew Garfield gives a fine performance as Eduardo Saverin, but I was struck most by how adept he is with Sorkin’s rapid dialogue. 

For a film that puts a large stake in exploring the relationship between Facebook’s founders, it can sometimes feel a little one-sided. Aspects of Eduardo Saverin’s arc are glossed over which ends up making the eventual strife feel less impactful. I know how it affects Mark Zuckerberg, but how does Saverin feel about losing and being betrayed by his best friend. This film lacks that perspective that I think would’ve made it feel more all-encompassing of this story.

I  loved this movie. I think even as the reputation around Facebook has shifted in the past decade, even as a less than avid Facebook user, knowing where this company began and how it’s grown is perhaps even more interesting now than in it’s release in 2010. Anyways, I highly recommend this one. It’s on Amazon Prime and IMDB TV right now and hits Netflix April 1st and god knows, we’ll all still be social distancing then so check this one out.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Comments are closed.