Documentary, by Ajay Singh, 20 March 2011

Director: David Fincher

Stars: Aaron Sorkin, Joseph Mazzello, Brenda Song, Rashida Jones, Franco Vega, Rooney Mara, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Bryan Barter, Caleb Landry Jones, Justin Timberlake, Max Minghella

Country: USA

Runtime: 120 min

Release Date:

Language: English | French

Awards:Academy Awards, USA, Austin Film Critics Association, BAFTA Awards, Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards,

Nominations: Screen Actors Guild Awards, Satellite Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA,

Official Site: The Social Network Official Site

The Social Network

The Social Network

The Social Network is not a very visually flashy or special effects-laden film. It is to a huge extent a film about people talking, and in that way it is more a literary than a visual experience. It is thought provoking because of its social implications and not because of its aesthetic choices. At the same time, this film is very ambitious in its attempt to paint a portrait of an entire generation, interconnected and at the same time distanced by the advancements of digital culture.

Many of Facebook’s critics portray it as a self-isolation tool created by lonely geeks to simulate a social life they don’t have. The Social Network takes a deeper view of the issue, showing how the idea was conceived simultaneously on various levels of Harvard’s student hierarchy, from the athletic members of elite clubs, to emotionally detached outsiders blogging drunkenly about their ex-girlfriends. Facebook is presented as a way to democratize youth culture, blur the class boundaries, and enable people to connect and be accepted more easily.

The film is very much helped by a set of wonderful performances from its well-chosen cast. Jesse Eisenberg is delightfully obnoxious as the intellectually ironic yet geeky Mark Zuckerberg. This is hardly surprising, as he had already proven himself perfect for this type of role in The Squid and the Whale, where he played an obnoxious, intellectually ironic teenager. Here he simply elevates the character to university level. He handles Sorkin’s fast-paced, viciously wordy script very well, and makes each creatively malicious comment count.

No less impressive are the privileged, hyper-athletic Winklevoss twins, referred to by Zuckerberg in sardonic plural as “The Winklevi”. In the words of one of the twins, “I am 6’5”, 220, and there’s two of me”. The admiration earned by their entertaining performance is heightened to something like reverence upon the realization that there is in fact only one of them, incarnated by Armie Hammer and a body double. Although the twins are identical, Hammer manages to differentiate their personalities and body language to the extent that you can’t help believing that there are two of him.

Andrew Garfield, as Zuckerberg’s close friend and collaborator Eduardo Saverin does a decent job of being the betrayed sidekick, but does little to elevate the character above the expected conventions.

With little to show for itself in terms of costumes, effects, sets, and cinematography, The Social Network provides a sharp contrast to this year’s big-budget blockbusters. Relying almost entirely on a witty, thoughtful script, and excellent cast it manages to add some much-needed stylistic diversity to 2010’s cinematic legacy.

Social Network [Blu-ray] [2010] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
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Format: Blu-ray
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Studio: Sony Pictures
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4.0 out of 5 stars (278)

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The Social Network

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The Social Network

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