Friday, January 28, 2011

The Social Network: I Dissent


I finally watched The Social Network last night – and I have to say that although it’s a good movie, I don’t quite see what all the fuss is about. It’s not in a league with 127 Hours, Winter’s Bone or Black Swan. (I haven’t seen The King’s Speech, The Kids Are All Right or True Grit yet, so don’t have those for comparison.)

Yes, Aaron Sorkin’s script is very good, with all the trademark verbal flourishes that made The West Wing so amazing. I could listen to the opening dialogue between Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend over and over again. The telling of the story in flashbacks from various legal depositions is also well done, although occasionally a bit confusing. (Which proceeding are we seeing now?)

Jesse Eisenberg is quite good as Zuckerberg, but at the end, I was left not really understanding what drove the character. Did he create Facebook and (possibly – the movie to its credit never clarifies) engage in some pretty manipulative double dealings just because he felt socially isolated at Harvard? While there are some flashes of dialogue that capture a bit of Zuckerberg’s resentment and sense of intellectual superiority over the others (notably the Winklevoss twins who supposedly first had the idea for what became Facebook), there are a lot more moments of petulant looks from under his ever-present hoodie.

I suspect that some of the adulation heaped upon The Social Network is because it deals with the “hot” topic of social media. A certain segment of Hollywood probably thinks this is still cool and are congratulating themselves on dealing with a “new” phenomenom so quickly, even though it’s old news now. The fact that Facebook itself has been so publicly negative about the movie has undoubtedly helped as well as Hollywood has closed ranks to support the “good” filmmakers against the “evil” corporate collossus.

In the end, the film may win some Oscars but about the only one I can see it deserving is, perhaps, for Sorkin’s script – and even that may be more an acknowledgement of his previous work and standing as one of Hollywood’s liberal standard-bearers than the (very good) quality of the script itself.

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the movie. Nice article Keith! If you liked the script then you should read Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaires". It's impossible to put down!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't get me wrong: I liked it, too. Just didn't think it was quite up there with Black Swan or 127 Hours.

    How's life in SF? Still loving it?

    ReplyDelete