Saturday, January 26, 2013
The Social Network (Fincher, 2010)
So I've thinking in retrospective... I've been surprised that, after posting screencaps from two different facebook conversations as well as trying to send out a facebook page for this blog, I've been surprised that I have not made a review for The Social Network yet. It's obvious that it's been a picture many have been aware of for a while now, having won Oscars (deservedly) for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing. The Facebook phenomenon has grown larger than any other social networking site, defeating Myspace, Friendster, Twitter and Tumblr. in the internet mythology of social manifestation. Everybody in my family has a facebook, even surprisingly my own father, even my first cat has her own page. The beginnings of its inception was inevitably going to be a topic that sparked interest, however much dramatized this film is.
I'm just checking your math on that... Yes, I got the same thing.
Ignoring the obvious lines between fiction and non-fiction (the fact that the movie was based on a book based largely on testimony by Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) - the superficially victimized character of this story; the non-existance of Erica Albright (played by the beautiful Rooney Mara) as the real Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has had a stable and constant relationship with Priscilla Chan - they have been married this past year), one cannot ignore the fact Aaron Sorkin's writing is more than just an exceptional script - he really does understand the decade... He has single-handedly represented the 00s in the most authentic and yet an unassuming manner. He probably didn't tell the story as it happened, but he told a damn good story. For as much as one can pride Quentin Tarantino on dialogue mastery, it feels as though Aaron Sorkin has a mastery of that...
You can learn about each character just by reading the lines they say... without even watching the brilliant actors perform them.
You write your snide bullshit from a dark room because that's what the angry do nowadays.
Looking into the cinematography, at first glance, I had thought that the movie felt more show-offy in that aspect. I can name specific shots that seemed weird and cannot be forgiven... the camera has unexplained and unnecessary lack of focus when the girl Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, who probably had met his real-life counterpoint before in several lawsuits...) has slept with rushes out of the shower and then returns after explaining Facebook to him, probably just done to get a PG-13 rating avoiding any absolutely visible nudity. The little gag where Zuckerberg tosses a beer at Parker's female friend a second time and it cracks... that was not natural, it really puts off that scene briefly.
But everything else about how it's shot... even the apparent visual wet dream that is the Cambridge crew race... it's unimaginable to imagine this movie shot differently... You can't think of it like that. It's mentally impossible.
In fact, it took me a while to realize that was the atmosphere of the time, though... Coming out from film classes in college, that is what every film student has to be about the best picture, the next updated thing - this movie is no longer living on film, what Fincher has used as a necessary tool despite being vocally for 'digital'. No, fuck that now... Fincher's using the RED and it's the exact same thought process any man in a progressive mindset like the minds behind facebook would be in.
And yet, there's more to it than just to show off its picture quality still. There's a distinct difference between the warm and the cool colors used for the atmosphere... We're introduced to the shadowy settings in scenes of parties and social gathering the 'glowing green light' to Zuckerberg's 'Gatsby' and think of them as the college Holy Grail... no matter what other motivations come up, it's all about parties for this incarnation of Zuckerberg...
But when he actually reaches that height of status quo... Yes, the darkness of the scenes is familiar to us, but it also reflects more on the heart's trappings rather than it's desires... It's surprisingly an evil feeling now... It's near nightmarish in some instances - Parker's arrest or Brenda Song's character suddenly burning her boyfriend's gift on Eduardo's bed...
I wouldn't think it at first... this manner of vision, but now I can't think of any other from a cinematic world like this.
Drop the 'the'... just 'facebook'. It's cleaner!
In a similar manner, Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose's score had to become a real acquired taste for me. My music fandom shan't be a surprise given my name and previous posts, and I am a very enthusiastic fan of Nine Inch Nails (I don't care who says what; I will always prefer NIN's original 'Hurt' to Johnny Cash's also amazing cover). But, I didn't initially feel the music's influence in the story...
It's ambiance. It's a touch of the suggestion that this bond between Eduardo and Mark is dying and it's going to end soon... just around the corner...
I'm not entirely a fan, but I'm not going to be too harsh on it...
... On the other hand, the weaknesses of the score are covered by the brilliant sound editing (which it clearly did not win... because it was not a action shoot 'em up)... the amount of detail in the background noise, it feels like the atmosphere of the room you are actually watching the movie in... Really, The Social Network is a technical masterpiece, much like Zuckerberg would in himself direct it and make nitpicks until there are little issues with it.
I was your friend... You had one friend.
Jesse Eisenberg's diagnosed with ADD in real life. I find that probably helped immensely in this character of Mark Zuckerberg. He doesn't come off too much as an asshole to me until the climactic confrontation with Eduardo. Instead, he's a guy who does not know how to talk to people, he's a genius who doesn't want to depend on others but regrets that he has to. One could clearly suggest that there are many more facets to the character of Zuckerberg than can be attributed just the one-dimensional claim that he is solely a bad guy.
If somebody tries to argue that, the whole point of the movie falls on its face.
He represents more than Facebook or intellectual ideas or the struggles involved in innovative pursuits. He represents a subcultural division of this past decade's generation. He taps into the insecurities of nearly everyone. The film taps into this generation's impersonal and superficial methods of socialization. When Eduardo and Mark's friendship collapses, that's a representation of the collapse of the trust in today's social relations.
It's this generation's The Graduate. It's going to be remembered for telling a lot more than how Facebook started... That's only the tip of the iceberg here.