10.05.2010

The Social Network : 5 of 5

Along with my love of cool technology, I admit that I'm fascinated with (and often idolize) the creators of devices and services that I use every day, so I knew I would enjoy seeing The Social Network (and was lucky to see it on opening day in a sold-out theater). Without getting into discussing what the movie says about Facebook and society in general, The Social Network is simply a fantastic film in nearly all aspects. The structure of the movie manages to juggle between multiple lawsuits and timeframes without totally confusing the viewer, and is shot beautifully with subdued lighting that implies the stoic, academic Harvard environment and intensifies the dark nature of the plot. The acting is terrific across the board, and even the special effects for the Winklevoss twins played by a single actor is pulled off incredibly well (I was also happy to see Brenda Song, a Disney-marketed talent, stretching out in a different kind of role). As a computer geek, I was absolutely thrilled to see the realistic portrayal of programming and hacking from a technical standpoint (certainly the best seen in any major film), and I found myself giggling with glee at the opening montage of the creation of Facemash, narrated by Zuckerberg's actual online diary word-for-word. Although the world of Harvard politics was definitely unfamiliar to me, it didn't really get in the way of the story, although for me it seemed to highlight how the somewhat rocky evolution of Facebook could easily happen (and makes its position today even more amazing). Actually, I was surprised at how little The Social Network focused on Facebook itself, but that makes sense because this is a story (definitely a mix of fact and fiction) about the creators, and not really about their creation. In my opinion, Mark Zuckerberg (with all of his faults) was painted as a sympathetic character, swayed by his own ambition (and obviously the creator of Napster) into solidifying his place as a geek, social outcast, and by the way, billionaire. Seeing talents put to brilliant use is inspiring to me, even though the overall tone of the film is somewhat sad (although I'm sure this has been intensified for the movie). Putting emotion and social commentary aside, the fact remains that The Social Network is an excellent film, and I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over (which I will certainly do after the DVD release). This is definitely a modern day saga that has affected everyone in some way, so it's only natural to want to explore it on the big screen.