Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Social Network - Like it, Like that!

        "Drop the "the". Just "Facebook". It's cleaner." - Sean Parker

Every age has an important invention credited to its name. The Wheel is considered to be Man's first great invention and since the Stone Age our inventions have evolved along with man. The wheel, the steam engine, the telephone, the television, the computer, man's conquest of Space are few of the most influential inventions of our time. From the Stone Age to the present, the Digital Age, man has kept on coming up with innovations that leaves rest of the mankind wondering "What will he come up with next?". The Digital Age has revolutionized the way we do things. Transport and communication were the Early Man's biggest hindrances and as time had progressed man not only addressed the problem, but had also come up with better solutions. From E-mail to Facebook the Digital Age has presented us ways in which we never thought communication could be possible. David Fincher's latest offering sheds some light on how this age's current phenomenon Facebook came into being.

Every battle has a story to tell. There is a victor and there is a vanquished. You win some you lose some, and success always comes with a price. David Fincher has masterfully woven a story of how two best friends become bitter enemies while fighting for the only thing they had put their heart and soul into - Facebook. Based on Ben Mezrich's "The Accidental Billionaires" TSN is a faithful adaptation of the book thanks to some great writing by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men). The movie may seem to be tailor-made for the younger audience who are more into Facebook, but in the end it is just a simple story of the price one has to pay for chasing their dreams. The movie begins with how an enraged Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in his drunken stupor comes up with an idea for a website used to rate women on his campus after he is snubbed by Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) for being self centered. Needless to say he earns the ire of all the women in the campus and is punished with a six month probationary period for his shenanigans. His genius is spotted by the Winkelvoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (Armie Hammer) who later approach him for helping them out with their own social website. What follows is how Zuckerberg uses their own idea and creates Facebook only to be later sued for Intellectual Property theft.

Had the movie been directed by someone else it may have ended as a court-room drama. But Fincher who in his impressive resume has Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which are prime examples of how a story should be told, continues his skillful past-to-the-present story telling in TSN where the story shuttles from the time to how Facebook was born to the lawsuit hearings within the closed doors. The actors, none of whom belong to the A-list category are well utilized and make the characters seem real thanks to the brilliant dialogues and solid direction. They say an actor is only as good as his director, and with a man like David Fincher at the helm one feels that he can even make a stone emote. You can only wonder why David Fincher still has the illustrious Oscar evading him. Jesse Eisenberg as the arrogant, socially awkward yet brilliant Zuckerberg does a great job, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Suaverin is a dynamite! He plays Zuckenberg's best friend and the initial investor during the conception of Facebook. Watch out for the confrontation scene between him and Zuckerberg at the Facebook office. Armie Hammer plays two different roles commendably as the Winkelvoss twins, one the hot headed twin seeking vengeance, and the other willing to forgive. Justin Timberlake is a natural as the charming and smooth talking Sean Parker, the founder of Napster who takes the Parker-worshippping Zuckerberg under his wings and provides Facebook with the contacts and the investment much to Suaverin's chagrin.

The Social Network may leave us debating whether what Zuckerberg did was ethical. Was it right on his part to use the idea of someone else to his own benefit? Was it right on his part to cut off his friend and initial investor Eduardo Suaverin, the book and the movie portray him as a man who was not obsessed with money and fame. After all Zuckerberg had once said "No" to an offer from Microsoft. Judging a 25-year old self made billionaire just by a book and a movie may not be right. Zuckerberg may not have come out clean after the lawsuit but we cannot ignore the fact that Facebook is one of the most influential innovations of this age. The movie posters brand Zuckerberg as a Punk, a Genius, a Traitor, a Prophet, and a Billionaire. By the time movie ends we know Fincher has shown us all these facets of Zuckerberg.

Contrary to what many people may say TSN is not an inspiring movie. It does not have any moment of inspiration which will make you feel uplifted. It tells the story of how two friends in an endeavor to connect the world got disconnected themselves. Fincher's screenplay and direction are the highlights of the movie but by the time the end credits roll you know that David Fincher has given us much better movies.


Anonymous said...

Nice review dude.....but i disagree with your point of it not being an inspiring movie.....

Anuraag Seshadri said...

Thank you! :-) which part of it inspired you? just a bit curious to know. :-)