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 David Fincher's The Social Network

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: David Fincher's The Social Network   Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:00 pm

Facebook is a social and cultural phenomenon, it's a global brand as big as Coca-Cola and Sony. It was only a matter of time before a film was made about Facebook, or focused on Facebook. This film started with a book, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich, a book which was an unauthorised story about how Facebook was created and a look at it's creator Mark Zuckerberg. The book was optioned by Kevin Spacey and Scott Rudin, who saw potential in the book for a film. They found a writer in the form of Aaron Sorkin, best known for creating TV series like The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, plus films like A Few Good Men, The American President and Charlie Wilson's War. Sorkin too saw potential for a good film in the story, and started a screenplay. A director was needed, and they found one with David Fincher, who had just come off the success of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he had had fun doing something different with that, a world away from his dark films, and wanted to do it again. Alot of people laughed when the news got out that Fincher was doing a Facebook film, oh how they laughed!! Thinking Fincher had sold out to Hollywood wasting his time with a film like this. But, once again, Fincher has proven all his naysayers wrong, remember people were skeptical of Benjamin Button. The Social Network is a compelling, wry, smart drama which might not be a flattering portrait of the creators of Facebook, but it makes for good cinema.

It begins in the fall of 2003 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where computer studies student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has just been dumped by his girlfriend girlfriend Erica Albright, (Rooney Mara, soon to work with Fincher again on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Over a beer or two, and with help from his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), create an internet page which goes around the students of Harvard called FaceMash, which compares which of two girls is more attractive, one of them is Erica. For crashing the Harvard network, Mark is given six months of academic probation, but he wins the respect of Harvard's students. He gets an offer from identical twins Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and their business partner Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) to form a social website called Harvard Connection. However, Mark uses his time to further develop his own site, known as Thefacebook, with Eduardo putting up $1,000 to start it. Understandably, the Winklevoss brothers and Narendra aren't happy, complaining to the Harvard President, which gets them nowhere. Meanwhile, Mark and Eduardo are wishing to expand Thefacebook, and meet Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) who suggests they move out to California. Mark and Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello) expand Facebook overseas, and Sean Parker is moving in on their turf, making business choices over Eduardo. So, Eduardo freezes their account, so Sean and Mark move elsewhere, and reduced Eduardo's share in Facebook, so he sues Mark too.

It's not the sort of film you'd think would be the stuff of making movies, more suited to a TV movie. But, the film has a confidence about it, and it comes with Aaron Sorkin's screenplay, filled with brilliant, snappy dialogue, which he's always been good at. Even with his previous film, Charlie Wilson's War, it was a drama filled with crackerjack, witty dialogue. But, with this, there's also a sense of overwhelming sadness regarding Mark Zuckerberg, the film suggests that Mark's desire to start Facebook started from his girlfriend dumping him. Maybe it did, we'll never know. But, it's a very tight film, and Fincher keeps it tight and focused, and above all, it's a character piece, a very well filmed one at that, (Fincher working again with Fight Club's cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth.) The Social Network is not a savage, nihilistic assault like Fight Club, but it's not as dark as Se7en or Zodiac. But, the film has a dark, brilliant score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, look at the scene at the Henley Royal Regatta with a pumping, hardcore rendition of Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King. It suits the film perfectly.

Fincher also gets the best from his young cast, Jesse Eisenberg shows a side of eccentric genius in Mark Zuckerberg, or did he steal the idea from the Winklevoss twins?? It's a different sort of role to what we've seen Eisenberg do before in Adventureland and Zombieland, but he portrays Zuckerberg as a man easily distracted by other little things in life, even when he's in legal hearings. But once again, Andrew Garfield turns in another brilliant performance, playing Zuckerberg's once best friend Eduardo Salverin, who got left behind in the move. Most of the film is told in flashbacks from the two lawsuits put to Zuckerberg, Salverin is like a tragic hero, he should have got a fair share, but wasn't as involved as what Zuckerberg was. But, it's good to see Justin Timberlake in this, and he puts in a good performance as Sean Parker, further enhanced by Sorkin's crackling dialogue, Parker looks like a man you can trust, but bearing in mind he lost millions over Napster, and even Zuckerberg wonders if he can trust Parker. Special effects come into force with Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, it's so convincing, you'd swear it REALLY was twins, (just like Dead Ringers). And for reference, yes that's the same Joseph Mazzello from Jurassic Park as Dustin Moskovitz. My, how he's grown. Razz



It's good to see Fincher try something unconventional like this, a low-key character drama, every director is entitled to something different, and it's a fast and furious film. In the wrong hands it could have been a dull and uninteresting film, cashing in on Facebook. But, this is so much more about Facebook, this is more about Zuckerberg, and his desire to be popular over the Harvard campus, as alot of students want to be. But, this is just a little online craze that just grew and grew, and won't stop growing either. The film ends on a note of irony with Baby, You're a Rich Man by The Beatles, quite ironic. Zuckerberg is very rich indeed, but is he happy with his wealth?? The film leaves us with that doubt, and we'll probabily never know what he'll make of this film, and how much of it really is fiction and how much is reality. But, Fincher has made a compelling and entertaining character piece.
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PostSubject: Re: David Fincher's The Social Network   Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:11 am

it's out here on February 14th 2011. And as usual, Fincher has put together a magnificent package for the film. The Special Features include...

Audio Commentary with David Fincher

Audio Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin & The Cast

How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?: feature length documentary

Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter and Ren Klyce on Post

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and David Fincher on the Score

In the Hall of the Mountain King: Reznor's First Draft

Swarmatron

Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals

Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown




This is one that could get all the Oscar gold next year, and it deserves it!!
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