The Social Network

The Social Network ★★★★★

That’s gotta be some kind of land-speed record for talking.


First, I’ll play the broken record for a bit. This is one of the most riveting movies I’ve seen in some time. And everything that everyone praised it for in the last decade? Warranted! This was my first Fincher, and it convinced me of two things: 1) The man knows what he’s doing, and 2) I need to set aside 158 minutes for Zodiac sometime, sooner rather than later. Sorkin? Yeah, great too: I wondered about the extent of “Sorkin moments”—you know, those “I want the truth!/You can’t handle the truth!”-ish dialogue exchanges that inevitably get distilled into their most quotable bits years later, and while they’re not absent, and they’re still great (“do I have your full attention?/ have part of my attention. You have the minimum amount.”), they don’t detract from the thing. Yay. The cast? All perfect. I’ve heard that Jesse Eisenberg shouldn’t have been cast as charming leading men, and after Now You See Me and its sequel showed him failing spectacularly at that (and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice proved that the kookily weird antagonist doesn't quite work for him either), this comes along and reveals, oh yeah, that hypothesis just might be correct and his best roles are only those of jerks. (I’ll wait until I see The Art of Self-Defense to determine a conclusion; consider the first viewing of this film very much a “procedure in progress.”) Garfield’s also *excellent* as Saverin, Zuckerberg’s only friend and the closest thing the movie’s got to a sympathetic character. The role of Sean Parker is the best thing I’ve seen (or heard) Justin Timberlake ever do, and Hammer‘s Winklevoss dual role is also the best such dual role I’ve seen (and a legitimate one too, not just a figurative bit like Alex Jennings in The Lady in the Van). Brenda Song? Great! Rooney Mara? Also great, and crucial to the thing. Dakota Johnson? Solid in her key bit-part. Ugh. This whole cast is perfect. 

A word for this thing’s technical prowess too: The editing! The cinematography! The sickly color grading, with purpose! The brilliant use of parallel structure to complement and juxtapose Zuckerberg’s rise with his fall! The needle-drops (“The Sound of Violence” goes, and "Rich Man" at the end is well-placed)! The *sublime* pacing! I can’t believe this movie’s a flat two hours! And again: riveting as well. 

But also, the secret ingredient to all this: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score. I’m biased on this front, as I’ve loved “Magnetic” for years before, and this score is currently a key part of my “writing music” playlist that has more “pretentious wubs” where those came from (I get some of this movie’s cues mixed up with those from Watchmen now and again), but in the film? Amazing. An Oscar deserved, though I’ll shout out John Powell on principle and wonder why Daft Punk got shut out. But I digress.

Excellent movie.

*And now, a few random thoughts exclusive to me and my viewing:
• I wore blue-light lenses over my glasses while I watched this, and the muted color palette got brighter? It works great, but it’s still weird. 
• There’s enough talking in this movie that the Netflix captions omitted whole lines of dialogue at times. Sorkin, you madman. 
• Did this get Garfield the Spider-Man job, with it being a Sony joint and all?
• Two great f-bombs? In a PG-13 movie? In the 2010s? Whoa. 
• Related: Andrew Garfield breaking a real laptop (or rather, several, as per interviews)! 
• This movie is extremely consistent in its tone, even with the bursts of levity, and I’ll maintain that no greater form of whiplash happened for me than when the opening credits went from “music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross” to “executive producer Kevin Spacey” in under ten seconds.

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