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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Social Network Review

The Social Network Review
2010, 121 minutes, Rated PG-13

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, and Brenda Song, The Social Network is without a doubt, one of the best films to come to theaters in the past decade.  When I first saw the poster for the film, I had serious doubts because after all, it is only about a very popular social networking site, but my gosh, it was one thrilling and exhilarating work of art.  I cannot say one thing bad about this film.  Everything from Aaron Sorkin's brilliant, Oscar-winning script, to David Fincher's impeccable direction, the convincing acting, wonderfully original score, and some of the snazziest editing this side of Moulin Rouge! is amazing.
FIrst, I will start off with the script, the highlight of this film.  Aaron Sorkin may have had some historical inaccuracies, but he wrote whip-smart dialogue that crackles as it comes out of the actors' mouths.  In the opening scene, Mark Zuckerberg, future CEO of Facebook (Eisenberg) and Erica (Mara), his girlfriend, have a conversation in which he becomes so condescending that she breaks up with him.  Most writers would have simply shown two people talking and one being mean to another.  Nothing special.  But, what Sorkin does that makes this scene so effective is that he gives both characters witty dialogue to fight each other with and simultaneously builds up each of their characters.  By the time this five-minute scene is over, we really hate Zuckerberg.  And I mean, hate.  This is a testament to Aaron Sorkin and his talent.  
Another testament to him is how this film turned from a biographical film to a biographical film with thrills.  The audience is on the edge of their seat every moment of the way largely due to there being no slow spots and once again, the dialogue.  
David Fincher's loss of the Best Director Oscar® is one of the biggest snubs in Oscar® history.  He has had a pretty great career before this and has gotten much attention for directing such films as Se7enFight ClubZodiac, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Best Director nominee).  In The Social Network, his camera placement is near-perfect and the performances that he coaxes out of his actors are nothing less than extraordinary.  Eisenberg and crew were known actors before this film, but afterwards, many were major award nominees and now have many films lined up.  Much of this is thanks to Fincher. 
In this film, the acting is one of the many strong points as Eisenberg plays a smart-talking computer whiz that is so unlikable that you just want to punch him by the end.  The other standout is Garfield as Zuckerberg's friend, Eduardo Saverin.  He shows an enormous range of emotion in this film and is utterly convincing in his role.  He got snubbed of an Oscar nomination as he was far better than some of the supporting actor nominees.
Finally, the score and editing for this film were among the best that have come around in quite a while.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' Oscar®-winning score has a very simple piano play at first to set up the quiet, but mysterious mood of the opening, but once their powerful techno pieces start to kick in, their Oscar® was basically secured.  Each thumping beat of the music was perfectly synchronized with the film and I was absolutely electrified.  Also, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall's Oscar®-winning editing is superb.  They always chose the right shot to use and when viewing a string of them in a row, it feels as fluid and exciting as a wonderfully composed symphony.  
Overall, The Social Network is a time capsule for our age and one hell of a film to boot.  It boasts three Oscar® wins and keeps getting better with each viewing (I have now seen it three times).  I would highly recommend this fascinating, electrifying film to anyone and am excited to see this film become a permanent part of American cinema history!

-Joshua Handler

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