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Witty & Intriguing - Not Just For Nerds!
The Social Network (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
The Social Network (DVD)
Advantages: Witty/clever dialogue, insightful, interesting characters
Disadvantages: Some terms may be confusing/hard to follow to non - US viewers or non - IT ppl, of course
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
Simply put, 'The Social Network' tells the true story of Mark Zuckerberg who created Facebook and what happened to different people who were involved with its creation from 2003 to 2009.
- More Info., Thoughts & Opinions -
Let me set the scene, as far as how the movie starts off (There's plenty I won't mention). The movie opens with a scene involving Mark and a girl named Erica on a date in a pub, Erica trying to figure out what to make of this guy who is clearly intelligent but comes across as socially awkward and a bit of a geek, spewing long lines of confusing and complicated information in a very rapid fire way. He mentions a statistic about there being more people with a high IQ in a certain area of China than there are in the entire United States, which takes Erica by surprise, though, as Mark mentions, it may have something to do with the size of the Chinese population (significantly larger than the US population) (this is going by my memory of the movie having just seen it in the cinema, I obviously can't go back to double check for accuracy but thats roughly it).
Unfortunately, the date ends disastrously, with Erica being offended and leaving him on his own, giving him a rather unflattering label and leaving him probably feeling confused and somewhat vulnerable, so he decides to retaliate by rushing back to his University dorm room and typing out a new blog entry where he insults her and then he goes on to create a website called facemash.com where photos of University students appear, two at a time and you have to pick which you prefer(!) (the photos having been hacked by him via many different University based websites) this site is noticed by other students, even though its about 4am at the time and it eventually crashes the local network, having received over 200,000 hits in a matter of hours. Mark is brought in front of a hearing and the word spreads that he was responsible for this site and the amount of traffic that it generated, which leads to a couple of brothers by the name of Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss asking him if they'd help with their idea for a new social network site exclusively for use by Harvard students, called the Harvard Connection. He somewhat reluctantly agrees but its not long before communication is strained between Mark and the brothers and he launches what was originally called TheFacebook.com with his friend Eduardo. The Winklevoss' become furious believing that Mark has stolen their idea and as the website becomes more and more popular, they start to reluctantly chase the company in court. I mention this in such detail to give you an idea of what the majority of the movie focuses on, ie the legal wranglings as if this sounds very boring and uninteresting then perhaps this movie isn't for you.
The movie goes between scenes set 'after the fact' where Mark, Eduardo, the Winklevoss' etc. are around the metaphorical (and physical) table with legal representation and scenes depicting what happened as the company first took off, when things were rather different.
It seems that Mark is someone who is rather aware of what goes on around him and what other people would like to see online, wanting to come up with the new big, 'in' thing, yet he's pretty quiet and quite defensive too - he isn't someone who seems very likeable at first, indeed given what happens down the line I think its fair to say that he loses his way and the obvious way to view him is as a bit of a selfish get, shall I say! however, to be honest I think its perhaps a little more complicated than that - I think he also comes across in the movie as a rather vulnerable young adult who others perhaps want to exploit, at least through his company anyway. He gets caught up with all the hype and talk of potential and crucially he puts a bit too much faith into a newcomer to the scene by the name of Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake), who was the founder of Napster. Eduardo, acting as the companies main business associate, is rather cautious of Sean, who's all too eager with talk of hyping things up but not much to back up what he's saying and indeed Sean is portrayed in a bad light I reckon, there's alot of extra partying that occurs after he's brought into the picture which there wasn't so much of before and so, as I say, this is when Mark ends up getting rather lost in the melee of things, I think it would be fair to say.
Its quite sad to see what happens, some things not being as they seem... I thought it was quite an insightful movie, one I found interesting as I'd never really read or heard much about those behind the social network phenomena. The movie is based on the book "The Accidental Millionaires" and I believe Zuckerberg himself has stated that he hasn't seen the movie and has no wish to do so, which i can understand - heck if a movie was made about my life, I'm not sure I could watch it really! given the portrayal of this semi eccentric, part social misfit/semi-recluse yet undoubtedly gifted individual, I'd be pretty hesitant to watch it and of course its not possible to comment on how close to the truth such a portrayal is as I don't know 'the man himself' but as much as he would seem on paper to be a rather unlikeable character, I found myself, yet again some may think, intrigued by him. I suppose a part of me can perhaps relate to him in one sense, heck knows I tend to hide behind screens and can feel awkward and a bit of a social outcast in some ways and when things have gone wrong in the past, I've gone online and wanted to post about it to vent and share things with my friends and whatever else.
Anyway back to the movie itself and you have to be able to keep up with some really very fast dialogue which, at times, can be a bit of hard work! being that its, obviously, an American movie (and really I suppose you could claim its another movie promoting 'the American dream' to an extent, or more/even the nasty side to that, which can occur), there are some very US-centric phrases and terminology used which non-US viewers may struggle to understand - I'm thinking particularly some Harvard/University related terms or dialogue, although this isn't something that should really put you off watching the movie but I felt I maybe ought to mention it. Either way there's certainly a fair amount of fast paced speech and of course there's alot of IT terminology mentioned as well which will go over the head of people who aren't familiar with programming languages or computing terminology in general, though that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
If your curious about what some of the witty dialogue is like, feel free to check out a selection of memorable quotes by Mark, which can be found here:- http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0185925/quotes incase that helps give you an idea of what to expect from the movie (of course it is a spoiler really but you don't have to click the link ;)).
While alot of the movie is about IT and social network sites, there are also numerous scenes of parties and night clubs, plus Sean Parker is played by solo music artist and heartthrob (to some, not me lol) so from that point of view it could appeal to perhaps a younger audience. I noticed there were quite alot of what seemed like tweenagers (ie. people around about 10-13 years old) at the screening today, I wondered if they really enjoyed it or found it rather boring given the number of business and legal related scenes - mind you, I can't deny that I found Andrew Garfield who played Eduardo to be a bit of eye candy which may have helped keep female viewers' watching for a while lol). There is a slight humorous side to the movie in a sense, well its perhaps a little cruel to say that but given what happens with the Winklevoss' later on, it seems that they don't have much luck on their side! mind you, coming from a rather upper class and esteemed background, I don't know if I should feel that sorry for them but there is one scene set at the Henley Royal Regatta in which they get a double blow and its hard not to feel sorry for them given what happens and what their told by one Prince Andrew nonetheless!.
I felt that Jesse Eisenberg was a particularly good choice to play the lead role of Mark, he portrays this rather quirky character very well, I can't think of many, if any other actors that would have the right sort of look, carry off the mannerisms and portray the personality that this character has - btw, totally random comment and all but does anyone else think that he's the spitting image of Simon Anstell (from Popworld, Never Mind The Buzzcocks etc.)?! that thought kept creeping in while I was watching the movie which was a little distracting but anywho! Justins character, Sean, is definitely portrayed in a rather sinister way and he plays his role as a cocky and pushy young internet entrepreneur (I suppose that would be the applicable title) convincingly.
I found it interesting the way the movie ended with fairly little dialogue (in stark comparison to the opening scene where we're faced with a mass onslaught of dialogue) and text bringing us up to date with where the company stands (or stood at the time the movie was made, presumably). I can't help but think about how the internet seems to work and question the worth, or estimated financial worth, of such a company, in this day and age such sites are only the 'in' thing and stay 'on top' so to speak for probably about two or three years max, by which point the next big concept in the evolution of the internet has been thought of, registered and uploaded so to speak.
I think that this movie could have been alot more bland and unappealing, its somewhat long at about two hours long but given the cast and the plot, it works better than you might think, though I wouldn't recommend it if you have no real knowledge or interest in social networks/computing, of course!. I found it to be rather witty and insightful, definitely worth checking out.
I'll end this section by saying that having walked away from the movie, I was left wondering where Mark's parents/family was in all of this? not once do I remember hearing any mention of his parents or family - on reflection, this seemed perhaps a little strange.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I'd recommend this movie to people interested in the story behind Facebook, although I don't think its entirely a 'geeky movie' as such but you have to expect a fair amount of computing terminology and scenes. I found this to be an interesting insightful movie with good performances and so I'd recommend it. I don't think I can quite give it a five star rating and I don't think it'll necessarily appeal to or be enjoyed by everyone (but then what movie would, I supose?) but I'll gladly admit that its alot better than it might have been, if handled differently perhaps - its not entirely a movie 'for geeks' and it certainly passes a couple of hours, with some witty dialogue and good character portrayals, its worth a watch.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful - it was originally posted on Ciao UK. Many thanks for all reads, rates and comments - I appreciate them all!.
Summary: A good movie about the founder of Facebook and the lawsuits that followed its launch