Monday, 25 October 2010
The Social Network
“This is OUR time” says Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake, in a key scene in THE SOCIAL NETWORK. This film is definitely the film of OUR time. It captures, with great skill and precision, the new world ahead of us, where the ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ control the social networks that we all use and that define our lives, and the old rules don’t apply. But some things are always the same.
An traditional tale of the American dream, complete with ambition, greed, betrayal, sex, and men of great vision, THE SOCIAL NETWORK is one of the seminal movies about the capitalist system, the way CITIZEN KANE was in the 1940s or NETWORK in the 1970s or even THE INSIDER in the 1990s. It works so brilliantly because, like the films referenced above, it brings top-level screenwriters with complete command of their craft in touch with accomplished, even masterful directors for a cinematic marriage made in heaven.
Sorkin’s signature dialogue sizzles against a perfectly controlled and beautifully photographed backdrop, courtesy of Fincher’s near-perfect directorial skills. The context, our modern, networked world, is so meta as to become one with the audience. Eisenberg’s Zuckberg, real or not, represents the Bill Gates-sation of the western world, where command of the right algorithm is enough to create one of the planet’s largest fortunes. This realisation, that technological capitalism, at the beginning of this new century, knows no bounds and takes no prisoners, is both frightening and exhilarating.
Most films I watch make a definite and concrete impression on me, and I can feel my opinion of them being formed as I see them - THE SOCIAL NETWORK unpacked itself in my brain little by little, like a Trojan virus slowly but completely dominating my movie-centric brain. I left the screening confused and baffled, and throughout the evening realised the different levels at which it had affected me. I am writing this review and I can sense more meanings rolling out even as I type.
This film will require multiple viewings, but I have no desire to see it anytime soon. A masterpiece that will be required viewing for decades to come, this is the film of the year. Move over, BLACK SWAN.