Great storytelling is an art.
David Fincher’s new film The Social Network tells a story we’ve already seen, heard, and used. Everything about it is familiar. We know what it looks like and what it is today. We know the name of Facebook’s Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who has already been tagged and viewed in plenty of amateur film. We know he can schvitz like my 80 year old grandmother because social networks, sharing enabled platforms, bloggers, and the MSM have covered the Facebook saga since its inception.
Now it’s David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s turn.
Written by Sorkin and directed by Fincher, The Social Network constructs artful fiction out of an even better truth. Facebook began as an idea, pidgined its way into the vernacular within 6 months, and became a 500 million user wide multi-billion dollar data mine in just 5 years. If you buy a ticket for The Social Network expecting soft college porn just go stream Revenge Of The Nerds; We only see Zuck behave sexually once, in a bathroom stall – and it’s not what you think.
It’s whatever you think, because Fincher doesn’t waste time with the visually mundane. While the most astute coding is powered by a good girlfriend revenge tale, it also requires a lot of work and an obsession with which Fincher is experienced. Fight Club die hards will enjoy the Durden-esque portrayal of Napster Founder Sean Parker, and the frenetic mind of a young Mark Zuckerberg wired in to his own cool idea. When we first meet Mark, his mind is all over the place. His ideas are vast, and many. He’s a college student.
We already know what happens.
The Social Network is about inception; one single event perceived by one mind in one moment conceives an idea and is driven to make it work. The event itself is trivial, but emotional, none of which is lost on Fincher. Building something cool to impress a woman requires whiteboards, coding, and ultimately law firms. 30% of the movie, and its most fascinating scenes takes place in a law firm.
Amid freezing Harvard grays, dark nights in San Francisco and what appears to be the DNA Lounge, Fincher successfully turns all night coding and two lawsuits into a thriller.
The music supervision is nothing less than admirable, opening with The White Stripes, making a daft segue into Trent Reznor’s score. Reznor’s composition is a character by itself; each cue and crescendo weaving dark strokes of angst, anticipation and control into a story which hardly has a dismal outcome. Make no mistake, the characters are real, and they are rich.
So Where Are They Now?
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, twin Olympic rowers, are irresistibly the epitome of a Harvard fantasy, portrayed with double perfection by Armie Hamer. Don’t be fooled, Winklevoss twins are not Grecian devices to reel in the gay demographic (ladies, you’ll love them) these guys are…unbelievably real. And where are these real men now? Rowing crew, and misbehaving like good Harvard-Oxford boys. The litigious two have been evicted, arrested and entrenched in more lawsuits. In one arrest at a party, Cameron Winklevoss allegedly hit Tyler Winklevoss on the head with a hammer.
And then there’s Sean Parker.
Sean is the Founder of Napster, portrayed as a coke addled girl crazy paranoid silicon valley insider who randomly came upon The Facebook while shirtless in a young girl’s dorm room. While the casting irony is overt, it works; Parker is portrayed by one of the music industry’s most successful living pop stars, Justin Timberlake. While his character fails to mention Metallica, he succeeds at convincing anyone and everyone that he has changed the world. And where is he now? Facebook Co-Founder Sean Parker is also reportedly the first and only US investor in Spotify, the European music service which has not yet launched in the US. Very interesting…
Eduardo Saverin is the Co-Founder of Facebook, portrayed by Andrew Garfield. Garfield might find himself nominated for an award after this film, but Eduardo Saverin is hard to find. Back in 2009 Larry Cheng sought him out with a blog post.
He does, however, have a Facebook page.
The Social Network opens in San Francisco this Friday, October 1, at the Metreon and Sundance Kabuki