David Fincher, the mastermind behind films like Panic Room, Fight Club and Zodiac (one of my all-time favourites) has definitely hit the jackpot with this modern gem that explores the controversy behind how the biggest revelation in communication (arguably, since the telephone) came to be.
Skilled in the art of condensing a huge amount of facts in a tight package, Fincher (with the help of Aaron Sorkin’s awesome screenplay) creates a surprisingly interesting modern take on the classic legal drama, mixing it up with an important lesson in business ethics, student antics and a mini study in social alienation.
A powerful ensemble cast will serve for most of the movie’s mainstream ‘likes’: Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland, The squid and the whale) is so well imagined that is hard not to get infuriated by his condescending nature, but at the same time admire his dedication, insight and obvious intellect (even though he struggles to get ‘poked’ by the ladies).
Andre Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) serves as the most prominent force of friction with the film’s anti-hero, effectively becoming the posterboy for the modern BF as he struggles to understand his friend’s cold and greedy nature. Justin Timberlake plays a very similar character as in Alpha dog and other past ventures, raising suspicions in concern to how flexible he is as a film actor. Rashida Jones finally gets her big break, as a type of ‘beta version’ for a love connection in-between all the business disputes.
The perfect movie, right? Well, no. Not exactly...
Add to this great cast the following: A conservative, but well-timed, hard-hitting musical score and a few good laughs. The perfect movie, right?
Well, no. Not exactly: The only thing that ‘The social network’ does lack is a clear, resonating emotional core. As fun as it is to see the plot unravel in its clever way, the movie is devoid of almost any sense of emotional connection, a crucial element of the drama genre, ultimately resulting in this cinematic gem’s greatest crack. While I understand this might have been intentional (illustrating how the internet has resulted in a type of emotional dullness), it does result in a sense of flatness that makes the experience feel like more of a documentary instead of a fully-imagined film experience.
Fincher’s simplistic filming style only serves to accentuate this emotional shortcoming, creating a strange sense of fleetingness, as one soon forgets huge chunks of the film (even though you remember it as a great film overall) before you even make it out of the theatre.
To put it simply, The social network is one app short of a complete Facebook page.(Just had to throw that in here, sorry)
Highlight: Mark’s realisation that his best friend has cheated him out of their partnership leads to a heated confrontation: A beautifully acted scene that pushes the character to his limits, resulting in the movie’s most intense moment (one of very few).
|A generous amount of screen time is devoted to scenes with people looking at screens. Riveting stuff.|
Rating: 3-and-a-half Meerkat Tails