Saturday, October 2, 2010

Review: The Social Network

There is such a thing as overhype. I remember last year, I finally popped in The Hurt Locker to see what all the hype was about and why is was apparently the Best Picture of the Year, only to find that while it was well-made (thanks to the great Kathryn Bigelow), that it was completely underwhelming and kind of dissapointing. So when I started reading the reviews for The Social Network, I got kind of nervous. What if this film was underwhelming as well?

Luckily for me, David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin have created a modern masterpiece. There is simply no other way to put it. From its first energetic frame, to its quiet ending, The Social Network is the best picture of the year, and is an entertaining and enthralling ride that should not be missed.

The story is played out as a parallel structure, half of it being the story of how Facebook was created, from every long spelled out logarithum and supposed stealing of the Facebook idea to the drama that ensues when they meet Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and the splitting up of Mark and Eduardo's friendship. The other half is the legal battle (or two legal battles) that show us the kind of mess that Mark gets into when he screws over the only people who either were his friend, or wanted to be his friends.

In that sense, The Social Network's story (or stories) isn't that complicated, yet the characterizations that are drawn are so intenses, so well done, and so beautifully crafted that it could have been the most one-note story ever written, and it still would have been compared to Citizen Kane. That is thanks to the impeccable and incredible talents of the marvelous Aaron Sorkin (who makes a cameo in the movie by the way). His witty, zippy script perfectly balances humor and drama and moves it along at such a pace that you are kind of sad when the last frame goes black because you wish there could be more. I think it is now time to finally not only give this man a nomination, but give him the Oscar he so richly deserves.

David Fincher also richly deserves an Oscar for his long, awardless career, and for putting together this script with tact, and hiring a director of photography that, while it will most likely be ignored, should be rewarded with a cinematography nod for making a dark drama filmed mostly inside absolutely beautiful to look at.

The actors also prove their worth. Jesse Eisenberg finally finds a balance of nerdy and dark that hopefully means he is officially out of the Michael Cera geek zone. Justin Timberlake is surprisngly funny and lights up the screen. But for me, at least, the true acting prowess shown was by newcomer to American film, Andrew Garfield (ok hes not that new, but my guess is that most people couldn't have pointed him out before this movie). His controlled and emotional performance brought some humanity to the story, especially when the ass-hole bravada that spilled from Eisenberg and Timberlake's characters was stunningly present.

Now, I'm sure some people will read this review and claim that I have over-hyped it, or taken the praise a little to far, to the point of hyperbolic overload, but it was hard for me to hold back. To put it simply, The Social Network is one of the most relevant movies released in the last decade, and is one of the most well-made modern dramas I have seen since the 90's, or even before.

Oscar Potential: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor (2x), Editing, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Editing (I know this sounds crazy but go watch the scene in the club).

Grade: A+

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