Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review: The Social Network (2010) TH


How a massive site was born

This revolves around the inception of current social networking giant Facebook.com, along with a bitter feud between those who were closely related to its creation. In the ancient days people settled their differences in a battle of strength, nowadays it requires shrewd brain power and a laptop to one up your opponent. Swords are replaced by keyboards, brave words are replaced by written law. The modern age, which includes phenomenons such as social networking on the internet on a computer powered by electricity, made the world a little smaller but also more interconnected and complex than it has ever seen in its history.

One of the most iconic rises to the top from competition was "Pumping Iron." It focused on bodybuilding but audiences learned the general rule of thumb for anyone getting ahead is you're going to either purposely or inadvertently step on others. That goes for someone taking ideas, to another giving out help. Mother Teresa had enemies, as does a CEO. Someone out there is going to have their feelings hurt or rights violated when someone else wants to advance. Although, if there's a line where does it get crossed? At the expense of your friends and business partners over your own ambitions? "The Social Network" centers around a remediating legal case in progress between different parties who feel they had their rights violated. This switches from past to present with some stylized filmmaking mechanics to make one think more is going on than meets the eye. The backdrop is basically your average college kids--think National Lampoon minus the comedy--doing what they do between classes. There is no doubt a minor story to had, though the filmmakers slipped in some tabloid scandal to pad the rest and it didn't require two hours to tell it, insignificant ties to it, or extremely loud music that drowns out conversations to sell it. This would have been better suited as a documentary as it would cut away the flash and trivial fat.

Conversations range from incoherently fast to frequently drawn out. Literally word for word is expressed without pulling away or cutting back on whether it's significant. This isn't rewarding like a "A Beautiful Mind" where you got a balanced understanding of how a unique process works and an intimate knowledge of the unconventional person behind it without wanting to wring their neck. Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg is like Spock from "Star Trek" or Chloe from "24" who looks at situations as logical as opposed to emotional. Zuckerberg doesn't see companionship like you or I, but sometimes wants to fit in despite mostly being a jerk without necessarily doing it on purpose. Possibly his only true friend and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, gets the short end of the stick as he's a nice guy in a dog-eat-dog world. Napster renegade, Sean Parker, is a leech that sucks onto opportunity without actually bringing in technical skill but instead charisma and connections. The three who originally brought their social network idea to Zuckerberg--Divya Narendra and Winklevoss twins--range from reserved, outspoken to confrontational, though each equally want what is deserved by bringing lawyers to the table as a last resort to negotiate. For all parties, it turns into he said this, he said that bickering. When millions of dollars are on the line maybe you would too, though that shared connection doesn't make this any more intriguing or even noteworthy to watch with all the minute nit-picking and overdramatization.

"The Social Network," like the film "Flash of Genius" about Ford using windshield wipers without permission, brings a deal gone sour to the public's attention. It's hard to say if this is 100% accurate as it's based on the book "The Accidental Billionaire" from the perspective of Eduardo Saverin: the co-founder who got the short end of the stick. If all parties were involved, this would have been better suited towards a sanctioned biography, as it's still interesting that these sexed up, drinks down college guys started out young and made something out of themselves by sheer luck and risk. The film tries to tie it all together by hinting that a socially awkward guy used the only skill set he had to create a massive social network to win over the girl. Of course, he doesn't care about those billions of dollars but the love of the game: writing code. Though getting to that point and trying to sympathize after dragging through the nitty gritty was an exercise in ad nauseam.

Director: David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones
Website: IMDB