This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Facebook. The social networking site that have been used by millions and allowed people to become closer to each other. This one website have not only become a fun way of connecting but rather something that became a necessity for a lot of people. Facebook may reignite old friendships or destroy current ones. The more we know about others and what is happening with their lives could have caused us to see things in other people way may not like about them and potentially ignite arguments. The aim of Facebook was always to bring people together but yet the film doesn't see it that way. This website caused a destruction of a friendship fueled by ego, ambition and visionary differences.
The Social Network is about a boy in college who has decided to create the Facebook and how this idea affected his friendship, relationships and partners. The film's screenplay is adapted by the novel, The Accidental Billionaires, written by Ben Mezrich. I myself have not read the book so I came into this blind and my only knowledge of Facebook is only at a consumer level. Aaron Sorkin adapted the novel into a screenplay that is entertaining as it doesn't try to become to complicated. The film's main focus is not on the creation of Facebook as that is only a supporting plot tool in the main storyline, which is the slow separation between two friends. I have no idea whether the film is accurate or not but it is damn entertaining. Sorkin has written fantastic dialogue in this film that feels natural. He also knows how to write conversations that not only are necessary to the plot but doesn't feel too cheesy or overused. Everything that is written seems to develop more about Eisenberg and Garfield's character that the more they talk, the more you understand about these people. The first time I watched this, I felt that the ending didn't really conclude much about Facebook's aftermath, detailing about its importance and contribution to the world, but it is not ever about that. In my second viewing, I started to realise that the relationship between Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and Saverin (Garfield) is the main point of the film and how one's ego has affected the relationship. Straight from the start, you are introduced to Zuckerberg that is condescending and in a simpler term, an asshole. The heartbreak of his girlfriend is the starting point in his retaliation in anger by lashing out at all of the women in campus. Zuckerberg in this film, is not really very likable and we seem to sympathise and root for Eduardo as he seems more genuine and likable. This is drama that have been tread before but feels fresh and executed excellently.
David Fincher is a director I associate with in films that are dark and moody. This doesn't film doesn't feel that but rather it is more emotional and sympathetic. I didn't mind his direction here as he has created something intellectual and different from the other sad story dramas in recent years. I can't say this film is original but it is his execution that makes it different from the pack. He wanted this film to feel very personal and intimate, just as a relationship would. There are moments in here that are heartbreaking to watch and some moments are much more subtle but yet still does something for the audience. I cannot say this is Fincher's best but it does show something different from him. There are a lot to love about this film and though it gets a higher rating than my review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I felt that was a more enjoyable film as I lean towards the director's darker efforts.
This film was edited well, it feels smooth and slick. The film cuts a lot between actors as their emotions and facial expressions drive the story forward. It's not trying to become something of its own like it was on Fight Club but it does try to aid more in its ability to tell the story.
Jeff Cronenweth has done three films with David Fincher; Fight Club, The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I felt this was his most safest compared to the three. It's very focused on capturing the drama rather than being something different and off the wall. The title sequence, where Zuckerberg runs through the campus of Harvard and the final shot that slowly zooms in on Zuckerberg's face, was shot beautifully. His sad facial expression as the last statement is placed on screen before the credits, "Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world", and along with the intimate and slow zooming photography just expresses the burden that his own creation has caused. Cronenweth's work on this one is not something that I would remember as much but it does apply appropriately to the drama.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' work on this film is definitely a plus for me. There was a composition that plays after Zuckerberg's break up with Albright (Rooney Mara) that combines razor violins that haunts the track with a piano that is feels so simple and delicate. It not only sets the film up to a sad start but it also enhances certain moments in the film that make the drama even more dramatic, particularly the scene where Garfield walks up to Zuckerberg and smashes his computer and having an argument. That particular scene is the final cut in their relationship that destroyed their friendship, the ultimate betrayal. That particular composition is used in scenes where Zuckerberg has lost someone important in his life. It is heartbreaking to listen to.
Both Garfield and Eisenberg gave their most emotionally driven performances I have ever seen. I don't know if it's accurate or not but it doesn't matter as long as their performance drives the story forward and that they are believable in their roles. I felt that Garfield should have been nominated for a supporting actor at the Academy Award as his performance dominates everyone else in this film. Justin Timberlake in this film plays Sean Parker efficiently, he knows how to convincingly act like a jackass. It was a character though I did not like when on screen as I felt he was written to unlikable but I guess that was the point. Rooney Mara's character is a crucial piece but she was a little underused in this film, all is well though cause she has a leading role in Fincher's next film. This film definitely proved that both Garfield and Eisenberg has acting chops and are Oscar worthy.
This modern drama is not about Facebook's impact on the world but it's impact on the guy who made it. It is emotionally driven and will have you either liking this film or be intensely uninterested. It has good cinematography, along with a memorable score soundtrack and a stellar cast. Definitely great but not Fincher's best.