After the (Y) machine took a festive break, the wheels are again starting to turn. To ring in the New Year, I’m going to be telling you about each of my ten favourite movies. it’s been harder than expected to elucidate my feelings on these films, usually “just watch the damn thing” is more effective than a series of ridiculous superlatives, but here goes. I hope you enjoy!
This is a film that should not work. David Fincher is a man known primarily for traumatic psychological thriller. Mark Zuckerberg is a man known primarily for being a tech geek billionaire and not in the grand charismatic Steve Jobs vein. Aaron Sorkin is a man known for complex political narratives and dense talky scriptwriting. Jesse Eisenberg is a man known for playing dorky neurotic types in the post Michael Cera comedy landscape. Somehow when you bring those four disparate characters together you get a gripping revenge thriller, taut and wordy but never off-puttingly so.
Par for the course of it’s digital subject matter, The Social Network is digital filmmaking of the highest caliber. It’s the only film I’d use as example of how one day digital might contain more desirable qualities than the film stock of old. It’s mercilessly cut without ever sinking to that ubiquitous hyperactive Michael Bay/MTV music video style. It zips from lengthy verbal battle to superlative rowing sequence without losing any breath. It’s icy colourisation matches the cold heart of Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg.
He is a man of scathing intellect and constant exasperation. Take The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and strip him of all comic sensibilities, naiveté and any quirks that may come off as remotely human or altruistic and you get the core of this character. It may not be true to the real Zuckerberg, from what I’ve seen he is a somewhat nerdy but altogether likeable man, known for his philanthropy, but does it ever make for gripping viewing. He’s a few stops short of a Daniel Plainview but his cold, calculating heart prevent any hint of volatility. He is in fact somewhat cowardly.
The Social Network warrants space in my list for it’s craft, it’s world-weary prescience and mainly, since I am a prospective-screenwriter-to-be, for it’s enviably magnificent script. Sorkin is an intellectual force to be reckoned with and like The Newsroom’s Will McAvoy you can tell he uses Zuckerberg as a cypher for all his own opinions, neuroses, and fears. It’s at once a scriptwriters film, an editors film, an actors film and a directors film but primarily; a brilliant film.
– Oliver Drew