DIRECTED BY DAVID FINCHER
STARRING: JESSE EISENBERG, ANDREW GARFIELD, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, MAX MINGHELLA, ARMIE HAMMER, JOSEPH MAZZELLO, ROONEY MARA, BRENDA SONG AND RASHIDA JONES
Why should a film like ‘the Social Network’ be made? I’m not asking that question in a cinematic sense, I’m merely curious about what ethic could possibly motivate a screenwriter to write this case study or for a director (let alone the likes of David Fincher) to get this to life. It characterizes a widely talked-about bunch of events, and knowing that, the question becomes “Why should the world be told more on the founding of Facebook?” Maybe I, as the viewer, have no authority to ask that question, because to stand against the content would mean a contradiction of my decision to watch the film in the first place. And I needed to take my time to get that out of my system.
Past that, I come to the characters and related performances – an assembly of rising stars. The film’s intelligence begins with its casting, where the rawness of the characters is reflected in the actors themselves. Someone like Justin Timberlake is called upon to play an ‘aged’ campaigner; Brenda Song gets to play the clichéd girlfriend, and the rest of them make to prove a point. This is what I saw as perfect – an array of actors trying to make their presence felt incredibly correlates with the characters, who are more or less doing the same thing. Kind of like ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, taking up the roles prescribed and trying to put some weight on them – but in suits (pun intended) and hoodies.
The people, now – with names unchanged, and that’s definitely something, because it means there cannot be room for dramatic fictionalization, which can come but only as a compromise. I would not like to comment on the extents of it (simply because I do not know) but I can surely assert upon existence. This film presents to you a Mark Zuckerberg of itself, of what the writer (Ben Mezrich, ‘The Accidental Billionaires’; Allen Sorkin) had extrapolated him to be. Same goes with those with him, those against him and I’m not saying that anything can be done about it, I’m just stating a fact. It has long been this fact that stands in the way of every ‘real’ story told, but ‘the Social Network’ didn’t seem to worry about it. And that’s because they’ve taken a story and have made it ‘cool’. That, I feel, seals it.
Now, how does this film, David Fincher and all, prove its worth? One, I felt, was through its exceptionally long conversations (two specifically delightful ones – at the very beginning and somewhere halfway through) and the film’s feat of arming them with wit and pace, aspects of fast-working minds. It is merciless in this regard, but while on the one hand where it blatantly says that it’s not one for you if you’re not up for the ordeal, on the other it serves to spoon-feed some major details while still not compromising on the speed of narration. The whole film could be bundled up as a bunch of extremely well-thought and vividly-enacted dialogues, where the latter serves to be its second most important stronghold. There is just so much intensity, so many hectic maneuvers through the plot that makes one feel that the swimming pool dip was entirely worth it. But on a serious note, nowhere is this film about the fun – 90 percent (speculatively) of serious conversation happens in places out of place, and I felt that was commendable, that helps keeps focus and also focus on the same. Uncanny.
Still, all said, the weight of ‘the Social Network’ lies on older (mature) shoulders. Marilyn Delpy (Rashida Jones) slows Mark down for a while where he leaves Facebook behind, Erika Albright (Rooney Mara) wishes him best with his video-game and a lawyer scoffs at him with the bottomline. And yet, this film would be known for the fistfight it is, the pace it’s presented in and not to mention its Jewish angst in hostile sociability and yeah, it’s wicked smartness.
And that makes all the difference.