FILM RATING: 5 stars
(Upgraded from 4 to 5 stars on September 29, 2011)
It’s been just over a week since I saw The Social Network (2010), director David Fincher’s latest cinematic creation. I decided I wanted to give the movie some time to sink in before writing about it. There was a lot of hype (and there still is) for this film, and I was anxious to see what all the hype was about. The trailer certainly sparked my interest and hooked me into seeing it on opening day. Written by Aaron Sorkin, famous for The West Wing TV series and A Few Good Men (1992), The Social Network is the “Facebook” movie that has been buzzed about most of this year. It supposedly tells the story of the creation of Facebook from the major players that were involved in its birth, specifically founder Mark Zuckerberg, as played by actor Jesse Eisenberg. But no one really knows if this is the “truth” behind Facebook, or just great fiction by Sorkin. Both Facebook and Zuckerberg are being very quiet about the film, neither praising or criticizing it for its accuracy. It will be interesting to see if more comes out about it down the road. But regardless of the “truth” behind the story, The Social Network is a good movie well written by Aaron Sorkin and well directed by David Fincher.
The Social Network is definitely an Oscar-nomination-worthy film and it will probably get a Best Picture nod, along with music, writing, and maybe acting nods. But is it the movie that defines the young “millennial” generation? Not so sure about that yet…we’ll see over the next few years. I’m definitely willing to concede that this may well be another Fight Club (1999), also a David Fincher film, whose pop culture influence is more felt and understood now, a decade after its release. Fight Club seems to be a movie that defines the Gen-X (of which I am a member) and Gen-Y crowd. I didn’t appreciate Fight Club as much when it first came out and when I first saw it, but now I see it as a masterpiece of filmmaking (5 out of 5 stars). I probably would have rated Fight Club at 3 stars back when I first saw it.
People my age all seem to see themselves through Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club, which I do for myself. While Fight Club has a more broadly appealing point of view (at least for guys), The Social Network feels very “selfish” to me. But maybe that’s what the millennial generation is defined by? Being selfish, self-centered, and detached from “real” social interaction. This past decade has seemingly been all about social internet interaction. We now communicate mostly through emailing, texting, tweeting, posting, blogging, and other mobile and computer technologies. It’s all self-focused interaction with technology…on our own personal schedule. If we don’t feel like communicating, we just turn the technology off or tune it out. It’s harder to do that with real people in person or on the phone. Who just picks up the phone and calls someone anymore for an actual conversation? I’m not “complaining” or “judging”, because I fully participate in all of these social media things on a daily basis…using Facebook, Twitter, Email and my Blog religiously as my main way of communicating. I’m just making observations here and noticing how less “social” all this “social media” has made us.
The movie itself has some incredible movie making talent within it. The cinematography by DP Jeff Cronenweth is great, with some incredible looking shots and top notch lighting. The acting for all of the key characters is very good, including music superstar Justin Timberlake, who is beginning to show his talents as an actor in addition to his talents as a musician. The music and score are fascinating and unique since they are the product of a collaboration between Trent Reznor (from the band Nine Inch Nails) and music composer Atticus Ross. I never would have guessed that Trent Reznor would create music for a Facebook movie! There are a couple scenes in the movie that are absolutely spectacular in large part due to the music. I know of at least two times I felt emotional chills run through my body as I watched the scenes and listened to the accompanying music. The movie trailer (embedded below) has a great Belgian Women’s Choir cover of Radiohead’s song “Creep”, which makes the trailer powerful. Seems apropos that good music would come with an MTV-generation movie! I just purchased this choir version of “Creep” from iTunes, since it is one of my favorite Radiohead songs (right after “Fake Plastic Trees”). Check out the cover art for the song, which is pretty cool:
The bottom line is that The Social Network is definitely a movie to see sooner rather than later. It’s a here and now kind of movie. I’m curious to see how it holds up over the next decade like Fight Club. It’s done OK box office over the last 2 weekends, with just under $50 million in revenue. Nowhere near blockbuster levels, but not bad for a “talky” movie. We’ll know more in 10 years whether this movie defines a generation or not. For now, I’m just glad to have another Fincher movie to talk about!