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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 1, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 40
The Social Network makes you feel dirty
Arts & Entertainment
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The Social Network makes you feel dirty

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

The Social Network
Opening October 1


The Social Network will make you feel dirty. Not the 'naughty parts engorged' sort of dirty, but the 'humanity is void of any redeeming qualities' sort of dirty. I think they call it nihilism.

The Social Network tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard dropout behind Facebook. It's a tale brimming with egos, ambition, decadence, and ethical lapses. I walked out feeling ambivalent about the film. However, it wasn't because the film was lacking; it was because it's like watching a Shakespearean tragedy that ends on a high note after all the bloodletting is over. To be scientific: It made me feel yucky.

For those of you using FB to contact old friends, stay in touch with family, post pix of your kids, or play Farmville, you should know that every time you click, every time you post, every time you send a message, FB is storing information about you. They are in the business of gathering information, and they are really, really good at it. Not to go all conspiracy theory, but I wonder what they do with it all?

If you're playing Farmville, by the by, you should rethink that decision. Don't you know we all see you're growing cartoon crops and we think, 'Doesn't that person have better things to do?'

The Social Network is an excellent, if undeniably dark, film. Director David Fincher knows to get out of the way of an engrossing story. Sure, he puts the Fincher stamp on the rowing sequence which ends up looking like it should be in a different film, but for the rest of the movie he lets the elegant photography of Jeff Cronenweth, the incisive dialogue of Aaron Sorkin, and the unexpected musical score of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide the frame on which the true story hangs.

This is a decidedly 'male' story, and could have easily become just another college guy flick. While much of the credit goes to the filmmakers, the young cast deserves kudos for their superlative contribution.

Justin Timberlake is the real thing. I loved him on Saturday Night Live (now there's a box I wouldn't mind being in) and he was rock-solid in Alpha Dog. He's made some questionable choices, but here, playing Napster co-founder and smarmy hipster Sean Parker, he proves he's in the movie biz to stay.

Jesse Eisenberg may be the hardest-working young actor in film today. He's on track to have eight projects released from 2009 to 2010. The kid brings the goods, too. He channels Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg's idiosyncratic egomania perfectly, leaving the viewer dismayed. Remember, Zuckerberg is the guy who had the following exchange with a friend about how control of Facebook gave him access to information on fellow Harvard students:


ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how'd you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don't know why
ZUCK: they 'trust me'
ZUCK: dumb fucks

No wonder Zuck trotted out his well-timed $100 million donation to Newark's public schools (Newark?). After seeing the movie, I might encourage Zuckerberg to double that if he wants us to believe he's really a nice guy. Regardless of Zuck's ethics, The Social Network is definitely worth a look.

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