Reviewed Apr 26, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
In many ways The Social Network feels like a natural successor to Wall Street (probably more so than the recent sequel did) and is the most interesting and cutting teen movie you are likely to see. The opening sets the tone beautifully, not only Zuckerberg's intelligence, Aspergers-like lack of social functions but also his utter desire to be 'in'. Whether this is an accurate portrayal of him and the rest of the people is almost irrelevant but it is a film very much for and of our times without ever being patronising or too broad in scope. I admire Sorkin as a writer but his scripts have often been just that - words on a page read by actors. Finally, his style of dialogue feels natural in the mouths of these characters. That isn't a slight on his other work but his style feels totally at home in the world of fiercely intelligent jerks. The early coding scene is brilliantly efficient at illustrating the power shift from one group of individuals to the outsiders. It is like watching a teen comedy about the characters that would normally just be the butt of one or two jokes, a Revenge of the Nerds on a global scale. Yet you get the sad impression they'd give it all up just to be invited to one of these parties, no matter how rich and successful they become.
Nobody comes out of this film particularly well, even the most sympathetic characters. All the performances are great which is impressive for such a young cast. Ultimately the story is of little real consequence but they do a wonderful job of making it feel as if it is the most important thing in the world. I loved the minimalist score and Fincher's direction was superb. I think some critics have underestimated his role in why this film works so well. Sure, he isn't as overtly flashy here but you don't need to have shots of cameras going through the handle of a percolator to tell a story with style. His direction isn't even that restrained if you really look at it carefully but he makes what should be static scenes come alive with clever editing and efficient storytelling. Even the early hacking scene, which deliberately contains all the terrible clichés of Hollywood computing (verbalising what you type, complicated and technical language and algorithms dotted around the room) is an exhilarating scene purely because of Fincher.
The ending is the most perfect conclusion imaginable; a man with seemingly everything is still just desperate to be in. I Loved it.