|Yes, we're here for our Oscar nomination, please?|
As I write this, I am also on my email, listening to music (Buffy the Vampire Slayer music) on iTunes, and of course on Facebook. Of course when I say The Social Network, the first thing most people think is “oh yeah, that one movie about Facebook, right?” Well, yes and no. Technically it’s about the guy who invented Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg), and the two lawsuits he went through over the invention (discovery? creation?) of Facebook. But of course, just like Facebook, there’s way more than just that. In fact, the movie is about Facebook, despite the fact that the only time Facebook is actually shown is the exceedingly old main page, and Mark’s own Facebook page right at the end. The Social Network ends up being a comprehensive, lovingly crafted yet critical view of modern culture in general, as exemplified by Facebook.
|Pictured: NOT Natalie Portman.|
This film is spot on for the upper tier of Internet society, the impatient, quickly bored intellectuals. The first scene shows a conversation between Mark and his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) which is, in the words of Erica, “exhausting,” each progressive comment rarely related to the one before it, but probably answering a question posed three or four rapid-fire sentences earlier. The movie’s plot jumps around like this, from boardrooms where Mark is being sued by either a collection of rich jerks from Harvard or his best friend, to the story of his creation of Facebook, usually the parts related to what’s occurring in the boardroom. The movie is stunningly well-crafted, if occasionally hard to follow. At an “interview” to hire a new intern for the wildly popular up-and-coming Facebook, Mark has the hopefuls try and hack into an encrypted server and divert its traffic, only every ten lines of code, they have to take a shot. Also, every thirty seconds or so, a pop-up comes up, and the last to click on it have to take a shot. Oh, and every three minutes they have to take a shot. Watching this movie feels sort of like this kind of intellectual beer pong, frantically trying to understand the plot and keep up with the movie’s bombardment of ideological points, while trying to avoid being dazzled by the shameless hedonism, interesting scenes, fascinating characters and entertaining cast.
|Andrew Garfield's hair deserves an Academy Award.|
Indeed, the acting truly makes this movie. Without the fantastic performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield (as Mark’s best friend Eduardo) and Justin Timberlake (as Sean Parker, the creator of Napster) the film would just be another attempted portrayal of modern culture. But Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark is a fascinatingly human character, a bitingly sarcastic computer nerd who comes across as uncaring and cold occasionally, other times as a sad, lonely, easily manipulated loner, and yet other times as a caring friend seduced not by money or fame, but power. Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield are also amazing as the combating characters of Mark’s hedonistic mentor and best friend, respectively. The bulk of the film’s ideology comes across through the relationship between these two characters, as they fight the battle between new, hip, successful, but amoral and hedonistic, and old-fashioned, reliable, trustworthy and loving but behind the times.
However, the movie pulls in far more threads than just that, using the success of Facebook to demonstrate the way social relationships are conducted in modern society, and Mark’s relationship with Erica to nicely bookend Mark’s changing character and view on life. At first seeming like a critical view of the selfishness and disconnectedness of postmodern life, through Mark the film ends up showing a more complicated version of human sociality that actually captures the culture of Facebook, and by extension most of the new generation.
Overall Review: Like
Death and Glory,