Monday, November 8

Review: The Social Network

There are only two things you really need to know about The Social Network: it's really good, and it's not real.

The news that David Fincher, the maker of films such as Se7en and Fight Club would be making a movie about Facebook turned quite some heads. Wasn't Facebook something that pretty much embodied everything Tyler Durden was against? How the hell was that going to work? But it all worked out fine.
This is probably because the movie is hardly about Facebook: it's about people making something. And judging by the movie, you'd be surprised that that something is all about social interaction. Mark Zuckerberg is shown royally screwing multiple people over and he isn't the only one who seems to not be completely right in the social department. Be it not being able to connect to people or being just a little too good at it. The title of the movie is deeply ironic: this story shows things are anything but social behind the scenes of everybody's favorite distraction from work.

The movie is about the kind of people who basically run our daily lives. It is a sign of the times that one of the most powerful people of the world right now is a 26 year old dude with an alarmingly big brain. And if there is one thing the movie makes clear, it's that his kind of person definitely has some other pitfalls then the elderly, elitist men who have basically run our shit for all of human history. Two of the supporting characters, the Winkelvoss brothers (two identical twins of blue blood and quite the manners) seem to represent this old class, and their outrage over the fact that Zukerberg stole their idea (although the movie never really condemns him as such) might be taken as a very clear example of the current dispute between traditionalist, closed-source intellectual property advocates and their fast-moving, anynomous hacker opponents. But I might be reading a bit too much in it now.

Our future leaders will walk around like this all day

Every critic and their dog has already been screaming about the virtues of the movie, and it's not hard to see why. The soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the acting of each three of the leading men, one scene in the beginning when Zuckerberg gets hammered and builds a website that would eventually lead to Facebook: they are all things that would make any other movie worth seeing on their own, and The Social Network has all of these things and more. And even though I was a little disappointed that their wasn't really any hard-biting critique against the website (who better to deliver this then the man who made Fight Club, after all) this is easily one of the best movies of the year.

Which brings me to the second thing you ought to know: it's not real. It's not even "based on a true story". The screenplay of the movie is based on a book called The Accidental Billionaires which was quite controversial and quite some more facts have been lost on their way to the big screen. This is not a bad thing (it has lead to a good movie, after all), but be on your guard when watching the movie. If you really want to find out what happened, do some research. Don't let this film become your only source of information on the matter.

What's left to say? Just go see the damn movie. Everybody's going to be talking about it within a few days, and it's going to end on every "Best of 2010" list in existence at the end of the year. It sure as hell will be on mine. Oh, and get the soundtrack when you get home. It's one of those rare ones that hold up on their own as well.


I only break my "no soundtrack" policy if the soundtrack has something better to offer then anything I can think of. This is one of those moments. Turn up your speakers before you press play.

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