Saturday, November 6, 2010

Social Network: Reality Hits the Wall

David Fincher’s Social Network is a dramatised account of the creation of Facebook and the lawsuits that followed. It’s primarily about Machiavellian intrigue: ‘You don’t get to make 500 million friends without making a few enemies’.

IMDb has thoughts on how accurate the story is. In the film FB’s creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has no real friends or lasting romantic relationships. Apparently this doesn’t match the real-life person and since it is central to his character development, or lack of it, I’m treating it the story as fiction.

One aspect that has some legal ‘truth’ is the interweaving of legal depositions with connected flashbacks. They are cleverly scripted by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, but unfortunately there are just too many of the Q&A scenes.

It’s a highly competent cast. Eisenberg does silence extremely well with a great combination of brooding genius and arrogant back-stabber. Armie Hammer does a sterling, nay an Olympic, job as identical twin rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. I can now put a face to Justin Timberlake who plays villain Sean Parker, but was unmoved by the encounter.

This is a boys’ own film. Harvard of the 21st Century is not presented as the home of sensitive new age guys. Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), the catalyst for Mark’s initial anti-social website Facemash, is the only female character who would not feel at home in a fraternity movie.

There is a new twist – the advent of geek groupies. Money and power have always been sexy. It’s no coincidence that we’re led to believe that FB’s early success was based on the desire of young men to get laid.

Social Network is memorable for its final scene and last lines: “Mark, you’re not an arsehole, you’re just trying very hard to be one.”

We can only hope that the real Zuckerberg is a much more interesting character than the one portrayed. Otherwise those billions are going to waste.

(Thanks to Cinetology for the tickets.

I have 223 Facebook 'friends'. None of them are characters in the film.)

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