Saturday, January 15, 2011

And Yes, I AM Linking to This Post on my Facebook. Ponder the Irony Profound.

So, yeah. . . The Social Network.

The short review: It's good. The look-- aside from a few pointlessly overstylized scenes, like the rowing race-- is solid, which is a given for a David Fincher film. Likewise, Aaron Sorkin's script is expectedly witty and well-paced, though it is hampered somewhat by the fact that it is so obviously an Aaron Sorkin script (i.e. everyone talks like the movie is in fast forward-- not bad in and of itself, but again an obvious Sorkin tic).

My biggest problem with the movie really has nothing to do with the execution, but with the concept-- specifically, the film expects us, the audience, to believe that Facebook really is as revolutionary and innovative as everyone in the films says it is. But, speaking only for myself. . . I don't believe it. I'll admit that I came pretty late to Facebook (indeed, for years I made a point of avoiding it), so maybe I had to be there as it was unfolding to really appreciate it. Nevertheless, to me Facebook is little more than a glorified bulletin board, it's only real importance stemming from the very fact that "everyone's doing it," and not from what's actually being done. Maybe that is what it comes down to, but then what exactly is revolutionary and innovative about the fact that people mostly do what other people do?

Indeed, the film's insistence on the brilliance of Facebook was the one thing about the film that nearly caused me to dislike it. Despite of its obviously negative portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, the film feels like blatantly pro-Facebook propaganda. This is especially disappointing considering it's pretty brilliant theatrical trailer, which suggested more of an examination of the Facebook phenomenon:

What we get instead is another "paradigm-shifting genius turns out to be kind of a dick" story, and you can do that story with all kinds of paradigm shifting genius dicks. How 'bout "The Physical Postulate," the story of how Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity-- and in the process sold out his best friend, Marcel Grossman (before you cry foul regarding the accuracy, remember what film we're talking about here).

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