The Social Network (2010) Directed by David Fincher
Hello 2011. It's been a year since we started My Lawyer Will Call Your Lawyer. And in that year we posted 134 times. That sounds like a lot. Thanks to the people who have been reading regularly, or occasionally drop by. 2010 has been such a topsy-turvey year personally that I'm quite glad to see the back of it. Work issues, health issues and other issues have meant it's been quite a hellish year for me. This blog has offered light relief. The other constant has been Facebook.
I'm a big fan of Fincher (Seven, Fight Club & especially Zodiac) and of Aaron Sorkin (I had a serious love-in with West Wing). So, with direction and script duties in such good hands, it's safe to say there is quality involved with The Social Network. My initial reaction after watching the film: this is a picture about young people made by middle aged people. NIN's Reznor making the soundtrack, The Beatles supplying the end song. Wrong generation. I still can't shake that. But more shocking for me was the skill involved in bringing Mark Zuckerberg's 'success' story about the creation of Facebook to the screen and how it drew me in as a viewer, despite me being repulsed. A case in point being Justin Timberlake, inspired casting as slimey Napster creator Sean Parker.
These people start out as rich, privileged people. So, are we to applaud their ability to make even more money from great ideas as the movie suggests? And yes, we're still making them richer, to satisfy our own needs for connection. The irony of The Social Network is that in portraying Zuckerberg as social outcast, we get some picture of an individual unable to connect in real life situations. Fincher and Sorkin show us this exclusive world of repressed nerds in a non-judgmental way. I don't personally care for these spoilt rich kids. I'm not impressed that Zuckerberg became a billionaire by 25. The film constantly tells us he doesn't care for money, even though most of the picture he's protecting his vast wealth. My punk instincts damages my view of this picture but also shows up my own inadequacy. I logged onto Facebook as soon as I got in from the cinema. I promote various opinions and even this blog through Facebook. So Zuckerberg has me in thrall. He's won, for now. The class war still rages. The Social Network is brilliant yet cold, a film for our times.
The Social Network is a movie reflecting the current state of the world. It was the movie of 2010 according to many end-of-the-year polls. It has potential to become significant and not least because it describes events that took place only seven years previously – we like to move fast now. It is definitely a piece of cinema with a distinct Fincher look, and yet I cannot help to be left with the feeling that instead of a film I am watching layers of recent history mixed with the celebrity cult on fast forward.
Where the money goes, that's where our heads turn. Just this morning I read in the news that Facebook is now worth 50billion dollars. While I embrace the invention, watching The Social Network makes me
painfully aware that I am not using Facebook, it is using me. It did not take long for the invention to go from connectivity and curiosity to a commercial trap. The sad news is: that's the story of our lives these days, what ever we do, invent or create.
I am struggling to express how layered in socially important meaning this film is. I lack the perspective of time, I don't have distance. As I sat in the audience I was irked by the kinds of people The Social Network described. I feel uncomfortable realizing that power is still distributed to those sons who were born to money, those boys who made it to Harvard, and those generally who are skilled enough to lie believably and who socially pass.
Hacking. I'm beginning to use the word a lot. My prediction: so will you in the year 2011.