Facebook just released their newest innovation that furthers the social network’s reputation as a product meant to track your every move like the digital shock-collar we all know it is but have yet to fully come to terms with as (or have already given up on fighting). Which is also perfectly timed with the first professional review of The Social Network, the David Fincher-directed and Aaron Sorkin-penned film about what creeps the people behind Facebook (and in front of it!) are, via (former LA Weekly) film critic Scott Foundas.
So: How is it?
….The Social Network is splendid entertainment from a master storyteller, packed with energetic incident and surprising performances (not least from Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker, who’s like Zuckerberg’s flamboyant, West Coast id). It is a movie of people typing in front of computer screens and talking in rooms that is as suspenseful as any more obvious thriller. But this is also social commentary so perceptive that it may be regarded by future generations the way we now look to Gatsby for its acute distillation of Jazz Age decadence. There is, in all of Fincher’s work, an outsider’s restlessness that chafes at the intractable rules of “polite” society and naturally aligns itself with characters like the journalist refusing to abandon the case in Zodiac and Edward Norton’s modern-day Dr. Jekyll in Fight Club. (It is also, I would argue, what makes the undying-love mawkishness of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seem particularly insincere.) So The Social Network offers a despairing snapshot of society at the dawn of the 21st century, so advanced, so “connected,” yet so closed and constrained by all the centuries-old prejudices and preconceptions about how our heroes and villains are supposed to look, sound, and act.
Sounds pretty great to me. As for the film’s portrayal of Facebook whiz-kid supposed evil billionaire Mark Zuckerburg?
Fincher and Sorkin chart a more treacherous course straight down the middle of Zuckerberg’s many contradictions, one in which there are no obvious winners or losers, good guys or bad–only a series of highly pressurized social (and genetic) forces.
Sounds smarter than the “unilaterally sniveling asshole” Zuckerburg portrayal a lot of people were probably expecting. The rest of Foundas’ review is on the New York Film Festival site, and in case you haven’t seen it, the already-classic trailer: