Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Social Network - Review

I guess it may seem a little odd that someone who spends such a vast amount of time on social networks hadn't got round to watching Fincher's film about Facebook's beginnings.  Ah well I got there in the end.

The story is well known, Zuckerberg's theft of ideas, his stitching up of friends, his ruthlessness in his desire to get Facebook where it is.  The movie doesn't make him either a hero or a villain, it just paints him as a somewhat misguided kid with an idea which grew beyond anything either he (or the people that sued him) thought it could be.

It also looks gorgeous.  There's one scene in particular at Henley which oozes class, but it's easy on the eye throughout, the warmth of the halls of Harvard contrasting beautifully with the starkness of offices as legal disputes are hammered out.

You feel sorry for Zuckerberg's friends, you feel sorry for him, but ultimately it's kind of hard to really feel too bad for a guy who's made billions from Facebook.  He's played to perfection by Jesse Eisenberg, anyone who's seen Zuckerberg interviewed is immediately going to recognise the mannerisms and delivery, speech at the speed of sound and a single mindedness you can't help but admire.

The trouble with any movie set in an American University is that it's going to be full of American students and all the cliches that comes with: Gap hoodies, geeks not getting the girl, awkward parties and fraternities.  Does that side of the film detract from the movie?  Well it's hard to criticise Fincher when so much of Facebook's story is a born from that but there are moments that could have come from any other  American College movie.  Zuckerberg running through the snow covered grounds of Harvard dressed in shorts as an idea springs into his head is just one example.

That said I did enjoy it.  He's the monster geek made good.  Forget the warmth of Jobs, or the evil overlord Gates, it's Zuckerberg that made the internet essential.  As much as we tend to pour scorn on Facebook, the basic premise was a brilliant one.  It's just a pity the basic premise probably wasn't his.

The last scene is hugely predictable and probably not very real, but within the context of the movie it works a treat.

Worth a rent.