Friday 22 April 2011

Devouring Films: The Social Network

Ah, The Social Network, how do I love thee? In spite of my new found ambivalence to Facebook itself, (it turns out, the people I have actually met in my life? On the whole, they're not that interesting. And some are downright obnoxious! But I digress) I adore the film about its creation like nobody's business. Whether I like it or not, Facebook has, as the film suggests at its heart, changed the way we communicate and socialise, possibly forever, or until the internet explodes or something. This is clear in our everyday lives even not online- the film makes a big deal out of people saying "Facebook me", and I doubt there is a young person left who hasn't said this at least once, and a little while ago, I found myself saying to my friend "Ooh, I must post these videos on your wall", a phrase that, not so very long ago, would have sounded completely ridiculous, and not a little confusing. Things certainly have changed from when I was a kid, when videos were things you put into a machine and watched a film on, and even DVD was a foreign concept. Everything seems to have speeded up at a ridiculous pace...

Speaking of things moving at a ridiculous pace, The Social Network has basically the fastest moving dialogue of any movie I've probably ever seen- its closest relative is probably The West Wing, which is unsurprising since Aaron Sorkin is the writer of both- and oh boy, do I love him! If I could marry his writing, then I probably would. The words are what make the film what it is, from making Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) go from arrogant to vulnerable within minutes, to making Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) seem like a complete and utter douche. It's so wonderful that I can't really say enough nice things about it, you really just have to see the movie to get a full idea of the pacing and wonderousness of the writing. Its the kind of thing that simultaneously excites me and makes me want to give up, because nothing I ever do will be as good as the writing in this film. But still, I will endeavour and go on! How noble of me...

The first time I realised that this film was going to be a really big deal, rather than just a regular sized deal, was when The New Yorker dedicated literally five pages to their review of it (most films are lucky to get one) and I was going back and forth on whether or not to write my own review because, let's face it, enough nice things have been said about this film already! The New Yorker makes it sound like more than just a film, and more like a masterpiece of epic proportions, and if they were the Academy, I think I know which would have won the Oscar for best film (they were not so impressed by The King's Speech). The thing is though, I'm not so sure that they're right. Don't get me wrong, The Social Network is a GREAT film, and one I think you should definitely watch, but The New Yorker seems to think it revolutionises film in the same way that Facebook revolutionised communication. And whilst I really do think it is a film that everyone should see and be awed by, I don't think it is all that revolutionary- it's just an incredibly well written, well directed film, that is incidentally about something that changed the world. I don't think, however, that this film does that too.

But really, who needs a film to do that? To be spectacularly entertaining, and informative to boot, is surely enough for any cinema goer? There is also the added benefit of those lovely Hollywood casting people making a bunch of geeks (and I say this with love, I am one such geek!) far easier on the eye for the rest of us than, say, a documentary on the making of Facebook would have been, but I suppose that's kind of beside the point really!

Everything that needs to be said about this movie really has been said already. So, maybe for the first time, you should probably believe what you read, and just see the damn movie already! And, if you're wondering why this review is so disjointed, it's because it was written in conjunction with Facebook. If that's not irony, then I'm not really sure what is...


  1. I was so excited when I heard Sorkin was writing the script for this and Eisenberg was starring in it. Those 2 really made this movie for me. I don't think it's the be-all-end-all of film The New Yorker seems to think it was, but a great film nontheless!

  2. Definitely a great film! I kind of didn't realise Sorkin had written it until just before it came out, so that made it like a must see movie for me!