Friday, April 1, 2011

The FTT Movie Review: The Social Network

So I gave this one a spin, more for the Oscar hype than anything else; watching a movie about arrogant Harvard pricks who become spectacularly wealthy at an Internet start-up describes much of my 30s, albeit at companies that colleagues worked at, rather than me. But the thing about Netflix queues is that when you put a movie in and forget about it, it shows up. And so be it.

On the off chance that you don't pay attention to new movie releases, "The Social Network" is the Aaron Sorkin written docudrama about the founding of Facebook, that social media site that's wormed its way into the average day of a disquieting number of Americans. The film is pulled from court testimony and a book that was written about the development of the site, and the near-constant lawsuits following the profitable explosion of the site. The central character is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and lead coder, whose relentless anti-social nature is the central contradiction that drives the whole thing. We owe the site's existence, in a very large part, to a guy not getting over being dumped.

It's expertly cast, brilliantly written, well-shot and moves well for being overly talky. There's really nothing about this that I'd change... except for, well, everything. Zuckerberg is such a genuinely unlikable person -- brilliant, sure, but the living definition of arrogance, and terribly untrustworthy -- that it's just difficult to watch a movie in which he's the lead character. There isn't enough bad stuff happening to him; there isn't a real sense that he's learned anything from the experience, and at the end of everything, he's the youngest billionaire in the world.

So give it a spin if you love the technical aspects of modern American film, or acting performances in silo, or the sheer accomplishment of the writing. But if it leaves you feeling a little hollow, or a little less interested in going back to your FB page to check your status? Well, that'll happen too.

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