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Wick's Review

Created Oct 06, 2010 08:12PM PST • Edited Jun 15, 2018 09:30PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Old media trumps new in The Social Network, in which dirty-sexy-money fuels a splendid drama about the elitists behind Facebook’s insanely great success. Boy billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, his erstwhile Harvard cronies and business Svengali come vividly to life under the direction of sordid master David Fincher and “You can’t handle the truth” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

    Nerdy striving has never – ever – appeared this sleek, this salacious, this savvy.

    The movie publicly mortifies Zuckerberg worse than the online humiliation it depicts him inflicting on his movie girlfriend. No wonder he donated $100 million to Newark schools the week before it came out. Who says money can’t buy you love, or at least soften the derision this movie was slated to heap. Now that The Social Network is out, we can only conclude that his gift wasn’t enough.

    Speaking of equity to spare, this compellingly entertaining movie’s assets include a perfect cast, two of whom are currently filming future huge movies – the Hollywood remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the reboot of Spider-Man. The Social Network will thus be seen as a star vehicle for Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara and Andrew Garfield.

    Not to mention Justin Timberlake, who proves himself as deft an actor as a singer. Star power, baby.

    Silicon Valley has spawned more than our fair share of soap operatic companies: Fairchild, Intel, Apple, Oracle, Netscape and Google, to name a few. Facebook now tops ‘em all, on account of begetting the ultimate Silicon Valley movie. That’s worth almost as much as an IPO right there.

    Poke me when someone tops it.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    Jesse Eisenberg proves himself a serious actor by inhabiting Mark Zuckerberg, though by necessity it’s primarily an internal performance. Heretofore more than adequate in light comedies (the two “lands”: Zombie and Adventure), he’s now a multiple genre star.

    Rooney Mara shares the first scene with Eisenberg’s social misfit, establishing herself as a heroine – scratch that, hero – to her sex. No wonder Fincher chose her to become his English speaking Lisbeth Salander, the ultimate hero la femme.

    Justin Timberlake brings sexy back to Silicon Valley as swashbuckling Sean Parker, smooth rolling entrepreneur. Timberlake’s rock star vibe proves just right for this bon vivant. He lightens the entire proceedings every time he appears on screen.

    Armie Hammer – great-grandson and namesake of oil magnate Armand Hammer – was born and bred to play the part of upper-crust legacy, here playing the rich twins who had a hand in conceiving Facebook.

    Andrew Garfield brings touching grace to Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg’s only friend and the nominal CFO of the venture. Garfield has star presence, marking him as a solid choice as the new Spider-Man.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Facebook gets used only in the final scene, fitting in a film about flesh and blood relationships. As Zuckerberg fingers his creation, The Beatles at their most arch come over the soundtrack: “Baby you’re a rich man, baby you’re a rich man, baby you’re a rich man too.” And he is.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Fincher Рusually sordid Рtones it down to just risqu̩.

    His brilliant direction is an accomplishment of Fight Club proportions, bringing him to the point where when the history of movie making is carved in stone, Fincher will be engraved between Coppola and Hitchcock.

  10. Play Perfect 5.0

    West Wing snappy all the way through. Walkin’, talkin’, the characters are always moving, even when they’re in verbal combat around a conference room table. “You can’t handle the truth” wrote Aaron Sorkin back in the day. This is his best sustained work to date. Handle that.

    Even the secondary characters are extraordinarily compelling, deftly drawn and so true. Take the hottie girlfriend who turns into a jealous freak. Dealt with that myself (pre-FB fortunately). Impetuousness cuts both ways. Dudes know what I mean.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Many of the scenes – especially the early ones – consist of Zuckerberg traipsing across the Harvard campus, making the aromatically portentous sounds of Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nail’s fame) and Atticus Ross’s soundtrack central to the film’s success.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Consider just one quick transition: cut to San Francisco with a deep sky of red striated clouds pulling in over the Golden Gate Bridge, just for a couple of seconds. Cut to a club pulsating with girls and libidinous energy. Vivid filmmaking, this.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2

    Rock star status is often claimed by successful programmers and entrepreneurs. These guys achieved it, complete with groupies. Hot damn.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.5
  16. Violence Gentle 1.5
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Glib 1.2

    The Social Network brilliantly shows the adjacency effect of successful venture progression: the original “idea” morphs time and again, often by incorporating elements of adjacent ideas. Success comes to those who evolve the fastest, and who benefit from more than a modicum of luck.

    To that end, Facebook wasn’t the first social network, nor the first to allow kids to state their relationship status, nor to friend each other. It was a fearlessly pragmatic agglomeration of ideas: not least the notion to use exclusivity to gain critical mass, and so on and so on.

    Regarding Zuckerberg’s social disorders: Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison – the longstanding Kings of Silicon Valley – were every bit the mercurial, ruthless assholes that the youngster is depicted to be. However they were lucky enough to start Apple and Oracle before social media turned the Millennials into obsessive personal documentarians.

    Regarding Sean Parker, according to a Vanity Fair profile, Zuckerberg’s Svengali was apparently brought low in a North Carolina cocaine bust, not laying down lines on a Stanford coed’s bare midriff, as the movie has it.

    Finally, a book with the compelling title Frozen Desire: The Meaning of Money came out a decade ago. The Social Network postulates the meaning of Facebook as Disembodied Desire. Poking from afar.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

Forum

Subscribe to The Social Network 3 replies, 1 voice
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Mar 17, 2011 9:22PM
Wick

Regarding hurwizzle’s Review
Pirates of Silicon Valley, huh? Just added it to my Gotta VuList.

Feb 26, 2011 1:47PM
Wick

Regarding BigdaddyDave’s Review
Great observation about the movie’s “Freudian arguments”.

Oct 3, 2010 11:12PM
Wick

Regarding DrakeReviews’s Review
Great video review Drake. Solid observation on the camera angles, especially during the post-breakup scene when he’s running back to his dorm. I also thought the music during that scene worked especially well.