Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Social Network DVD review

This time of year is really exciting for all movie fans.  The big question is, who will be nominated for the various categories at the Oscars?  To me, the Golden Globes are... meh.  Who cares?  Oscar is the real prize, and we're really close.  And one movie that has been a lock for nominations since the first trailer is, The Social Network.

The movie is written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher.  If you don't know, it's about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of the phenomena,  Jesse Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg, the Harvard dropout that was just voted Time Magazine's "Person of the Year".  Pretty incredible considering the unbelievable growth of Facebook.  The film also stars Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, who play the real life people who helped get the site off the ground.  The film also stars Armie Hammer, who plays the Winklevoss twins.  He plays dual roles; Cameron and Tyler, who sue Zuckerberg, accusing him of stealing their idea for Facebook.

What I liked about the film:
Mark Zuckerberg
I am obviously a huge movie fan; hence this blog.  But the movies with the most notoriety are often period pieces from a time long ago.  World War II is among the Academy's favorite time.  Along with British period pieces like this years The King's Speech.  So to see a movie based on events that took place during my lifetime is a real treat.  The subject matter is fresh and relative; and a treat for the techies that understand a lot of the dialogue being spouted off by the amazing cast.

The Writing
The writing is quick, witty, smart, relative, unconventional, conventional, fragmented, organized, business oriented, abbreviated, elongated, etc.  Sorkin is a freakin' genius, period.  The man will go down as the best writer of my generation and on.  He is not only great at setting up characters and scenes, etc.; he's amazing with the dialogue in the film.  The writing is so smart, yet simple enough for anyone in the audience to understand.  The story is told in a nonlinear fashion.  It jumps from a chronological telling of the development of Facebook, and bounces back and forth to the depositions in the lawsuits brought against Zuckerberg.  Brilliant. 

The Acting
Jesse Eisenberg
Eisenberg surely be nominated for Academy Award for the film.  He delivers every line so effortlessly.  His eyes tell stories all their own, and his face expresses such a wide array of emotion, he was the perfect actor for the part.  Garfield delivers an amazing performance as Zuckerberg's best friend and co-founder of Facebook.  His character has perhaps the widest array of emotion in the film.  Happy, excited, sad, devastated, betrayed, etc.  The Winklevoss' are played by the same actor, Armie Hammer.  And boy did they do a great job of making the audience hate them.  Stuck up, entitled, arrogant, privileged jerks.  Hammer nails it!

The Director
I'm a huge fan of Fincher's work, I'll be the first to tell you that.  Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the future Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and of course The Social Network.  Wow, that is an amazing, and very underrated, resume!  He does a lot of things perfectly in this film.  The casting, the wardrobe of its time, the locations, and the score are all wonderful. 

What I didn't liked about the film:
The Length/Redundancy
It's exactly as the heading says.  The film is about 20-25 minutes too long.  90% of the film is fast paced and keeps the audience interested.  But there is a stretch in the middle act that just would NOT end.  Also, there are several scenes that didn't need to be there.  They added nothing to the story, and were pretty much covered earlier in the film.

Justin Timberlake
The last time I listed an actor as a "dislike" was my review for The Karate Kid.  In that case Taraji P. Henson almost ruined the film for me.  In this film, Justin Timberlake is the culprit.  I hated every SINGLE thing about his performance.  He plays Sean Parker, the founder of the song stealing site,  Supposedly he "earned" the part.  B-S, he got the part because the producers hoped to add a "big name" to the mostly unknown cast.  He's terrible and I hate his acting, period.

The (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) Blu-Ray of the film has a bunch of goodies.  Two audio commentaries; one with writer Sorkin, the other features director Fincher and the rest of the cast.  Also included is "How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?", a feature length documentary about the development of Facebook.  Also included are features with Trent Reznor who scored the film, and a few scene by scene breakdowns from the film.

The verdict:
Great, but not the best
The film is among the best I've seen in a long long time.  But strictly speaking in terms of my vote for Oscars, it wasn't as good as The Fighter.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say Inception & Toy Story 3 were better as well.  Not to fear, all four will be nominated and I'm sure one of them will win Best Picture.

Facebook has so quickly become embedded in our culture and our daily lives.  The fact that the events portrayed in the film occurred only 7 short years ago is pretty amazing in and of itself.  I hope this sparks a new line of films that happened in my lifetime.  War movies will always work, but these work just as well.  We'll see if I'm still blogging in 10 years, I'll have to look back at this post and see what the next Facebook will be.... as if anything could ever replace Facebook!

1 comment:

FattMatt said...

I COMPLETELY disagree with you on Justin Timberlake. He put in a fantastic performance.
To be honest, I'm surprised he wasn't at least nominated for it.

Other than that, spot-on review.