The Social Network

The Social Network (2010) Director: David Fincher

David Fincher is known for his gritty modern films like Panic RoomFight ClubSeven, The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonZodiakThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl, as well as the House of Cards series. The Social Network is one of his better films in my view.

The Social Network film poster.png

★★★★★

At any rate, The Social Network tells an admittedly biased story about the founding of “TheFacebook” the social networking website. It details the rise of a robotic and antisocial Mark Zuckerberg as he founds (or perhaps steals) a college networking site at Harvard University. It grows and expands to other ivy league schools, and eventually to Silicon Valley, where Zuckerberg becomes the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. The whole film is told through a series of inter-spliced scenes showcasing lawsuits against Zuckerberg by the other early founders of Facebook at Harvard. The film explores themes of ambition, friendship, betrayal, and genius. Digital relationship-building took precedence over real friendships in the creation of the world’s largest online dystopian social media platform. 

Jesse Eisenberg brilliantly plays Mark Zuckerberg, and other notable names like Justin Timberlake and Rashida Jones also appear in the film. Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the smooth-talking, playboy and Silicon Valley investor who founded Napster until it went bankrupt due to lawsuits, he was chased out of the next company he founded, before he was involved with venture capital investing and then opened significant opportunities for Facebook. Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross created the score for the film -which opens with the White Stripes’s Ball and a Biscuit and closes with The Beatles’s Baby You’re A Rich Man. The film also features a brilliantly eerie cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, a writer of other great screenplays like A Few Good MenCharlie Wilson’s WarMoneyball, and others. For writing The Social Network, he received an Academy Award.

The Social Network is brilliant and preys on the changing public perception of Facebook, as well as much of Silicon Valley. Once celebrated as the harbinger of freedom and self-expression, within a decade Facebook suddenly became synonymous with Orwellian dystopianism -Mark Zuckerberg being a significant target of this public ire. The film has continued to age well, as Facebook has only drawn ever greater scrutiny for accusations of corruption and perhaps even treason. The film beautifully portrays both the early excitement and now the tragic pessimism of the modern social network.

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