Monday, 11 October 2010

The Social Network

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Dir: David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Seven)
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara, Brenda Song, Rashida Jones, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella
USA, 2010

Seen: October 9, 2010

Reason to see: It feels like one of the 'have to see' films of 2010, and Ill watch anything with Andrew Garfield in it as he is an amazing actor.

Originally when I heard there was going to be a 'Facebook movie', I thought it was a joke. A film about a website, really? How would they do that? It's a site. But then with David Fincher attached as director and a strong cast including Jesse Eisenberg & Andrew Garfield was announced and I got more interested. And then the marketing push came including the tagline of 'You Don't Get To 5,000,000 Friends Without Making A Few Enemies' and a trailer that showed friends not being very good friends along with smart & biting dialogue, and I lot leery again as I didn't see anyone to connect with.

The Social Network follows the idea behind, creation of and controversy that followed surrounding the social networking site Facebook. It follows Harvard student and friends Mark (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo (Andrew Garfield) who are depicted as brilliant intellects but on the low end of the social scale and looking for recognition & acceptance from prestigious school clubs. On paper, I would have been hooked at this point and all ready to cheer for the underdog and all that, but I wasn't. I rarely cared or sympathized with any of the characters in the film. I'll be clear that this isn't a fault of the actors in any way, who do an amazing job. Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) is fantastic as the brilliant yet bitter Mark and Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go, Boy A) is as strong as ever in his depiction of Eduardo, the only character that I was ever rooting for in the film as he seemed to actually have a heart.

I will admit that the film was way more intellectually stimulating than I expected, and it's fascinating from an entrepreneurial perspective in terms of business, intellectual property and the world of ideas. But I was rarely emotionally affected or invested in anyone or anything that happened, which is perhaps the saddest thing. The driving idea behind Facebook is connecting, or arguable in this context it's showcased as, seeing what other people are up to. We as the audience see what the characters are up to at a distance, but a true connection isn't there. We aren't connected to Mark, and it's painful to see that although he connected everyone to each other, he doesn't seem to be connected to anyone himself.

The message of the film had a tone along the lines of creators create and users use. If Facebook gives users the facility to be creators, what happens to the creators? Apathy holds strong in a vague and haunting way to indicate that it's not likely anyone even notice or care. Talk about heartbreaking.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it for the zeitgeist factor and for folks who try to see everything for awards shows

10 minutes of preshow including 2 commercials and 3 previews: I Am Number Four, The Tourist and How Do You Know

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

3 comments:

FranchiseSaysSo said...

Halfway through this movie, me and my friend were like, "We need to invent something to get rich". It kind of makes you feel that way. Overall, I thought it was cool. Like you, at first I didn't really take interest but as the marketing picked up for it, it really caught my attention and I don't even use Facebook.

Castor said...

Everyone seems to be raving about this movie! I can see how one wouldn't sympathize with any of the characters because of their different backgrounds and the fact that they are all more or less pictured as a$$holes.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Franchise - Wow, I'm surprized it still reads as interesting when you don't use Facebook.

Castor - I can, and often do, sympathize with folks from different backgrounds and that is one of the saddest things about the film is that it feels it shows the underdog and you want to root for them, but when they are ... as you say.. assholes, sympathy goes out the window.

The more I think about it, the more I realize one of the strong themes is about exclusivity. People who want to be a part of something exclusive, will by definition be excluding people and I'm a big keener on being inclusive - I think that's what put me off the film.

It's a challenging one to review, because it's certainly well done, but I didn't 'like' it.

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