Oct 8, 2010

Movies: The Social Network

I am not exactly the biggest Fincher fan out there. My relationship with his movies has been off and on throughout the years, and when I saw the trailer for The Social Network, my first reaction was "f*ck that!" But then the raving reviews started piling, and being the trend-following creature that I am, in the end I just went to see it.

And man, I am so glad that I did! This is, hands down, one of the best movies of the year. The production is impeccable on almost every level, and it would be nitpicking to try and list negatives.

The story follows the creation of Facebook, and the drama surrounding its creators, leading to two law-suits. The script is close to perfection. It jumps between the "present" - the two suits - and the "past" - the events that led to them. The movie's rhythm is exceptional, the cuts situated on exactly the right places, but the best part of the script is undeniably the dialogue. The lines fly at sonic speed, sarcastic remarks, snappy retorts and neurotic arguments that would leave the viewer physically exhausted were they not so engaging.

Which leads me to the second component that makes The Social Network so good - the casting. Jesse Eisenberg is amazing as the site's creator Mark Zuckenberg. He is a fidgeting douchebag, whose mind moves too fast for trivialities like sensitivity and manners, but who at the same time isn't above pettiness and the feeling of betrayal. A controversial character to say the least, Zuckenberg makes it hard to sympathize with him, and it seems to me that it is a desired effect. But Eisenberg has amazing timing in delivering his lines, and manages to bear most of the movie on his wimpy shoulders, which is saying a lot for an actor that young.

The rest of the main cast are also very good. Kudos to Armie Hammer, playing one of and the face/voice of both Winklevoss twins. The guy has an overbearing presence, creepily deep voice, and projects intense murder with just his eyes, which is kinda cool, considering the role he gets to play. Plus, he gets the best line in the entire movie: "I'm 6.5, 220 pounds, and there's two of me". Awesome!

Direction and cinematography are on the usual Fincher level of amazingness, although The Social Network isn't the type of story that suggests too much originality in those aspects. My only complaint is a small one, and has to do with the colors in the movie. Every part of the story uses its own particular color scheme - greenish-brown for the Harvard scenes, golden-brown for one of the law-suits, gray for the other, etc. Fincher is very big on utilizing different colors (or at least different shades of brown, that is...) as a storytelling tool, but in this particular case, the jarring transitions between them, while possibly intentional, tend to, well, jar. I don't particularly like it when effects like that are thrusting their cleavage in my face.

It's a minor problem though, and not particularly annoying. Overall, The Social Network is a great movie that deserves every praise it's been getting. Do yourselves a favor and go see it.


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