Sunday, September 26, 2010
"All Creation Myths Need a Devil" : Nog Sees The Social Network!
As The Social Network begins, The Facebook (as it's originally called) is born out of drunken bitterness as Mark Zuckerberg, reeling from an unexpected break-up, brainstorms an outlet for his frustrations that will allow like-minded Harvard students to rate and keep tabs on their classmates. According to Aaron Sorkin's script, that self-absorption continues, ironically, to drive the business mentality behind a site built around community. The tale itself is a standard one--the young up-and-comer increasingly willing to betray his friends for fame and fortune--but its well told in Fincher's new film, with an efficient structure that bounces (sometimes too quickly, for my taste) between key moments of Facebook's formation and a pending lawsuit involving Zuckerman and his former friend and business partner. Fincher's cast is as sharp as Sorkin's script. Eisenberg is sometimes criticized for playing the same, stammery, neurotic in different films, but here he combines those familiar mannerisms with something more subtle that gets us further into Zuckerberg's ego: notice how he tunes out, almost narcoleptically, when the world isn't centered around his particular vision. Andrew Garfield (soon to be Spiderman) proves he's got star power as Eduardo, Zuckerberg's initially close friend and business partner, the film's most sympathic character. And Justin Timberlake, playing flashy Napster founder Sean Parker, is a scene-stealer. The line in my title is delivered late in the film by a lawyer played by Rashida Jones, who goes on to tell Zuckerberg that's he's not really an asshole, just a guy who works very hard to be thought of that way. But I'm not quite sure that line fits meshes with what the previous two hours have told us. Zuckerberg, as he's presented here, comes off looking pretty bad indeed. Whereas Fincher's last film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, led us further away from the issues of obsession and paranoia that seem to define his earlier films, we're back in familiar Fincher territory here. It's not my favorite film of the year, but I'd bet money on it claiming one of the ten slots on Oscar night.