In case you’ve spent the past few years in a hole, Facebook is a pretty big deal. Especially in a Silicon Valley high school.
But even outside of LAHS, 500 million people worldwide friend each other, “like” the latest comment on their friends’ walls, and share that hilarious skateboard fail video. Facebook is such a big deal that people actually argue over how it affects education, privacy and even ethics.
But the 2010 film “The Social Network” is unlike your own Facebook experience, though the movie is the story of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. (The typical experience involves sitting in your room by yourself with the occasional “thrill” of getting a reward on Farmville or laughing to yourself as you join the “I like to stand in the shower because it feels warm” group.)
Watch the trailer below:
The film is impressively written, fitting what seems to be a lackluster cast into the enemies the world’s youngest billionaire had to make in order to make 500 million friends. The movie engages the viewer as it tells the life of Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), the social recluse at the time.
It takes the audience from a hacker’s dorm room to a college party to the courthouse to a night club to all the way up to the glassy room where the world’s youngest billionaire and a modern “Citizen Kane” sit alone.
Though I have a personal vendetta against the film industry, I must admit that this movie will almost certainly entertain an LAHS student.
The movie certainly is no documentary, but then again, it isn’t supposed to be. The screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, was not trying to realistically depict the actual Mark Zuckerberg’s life as much as he was trying to engage the audience.
Sorkin does a good job at holding people both deeply interested in appreciating “The Social Network” as well as the people who just came because they thought the last movie Eisenberg starred in, “Zombieland,” was freaking hilarious.
Sorkin wrote the script in a way that it is clearly dramatized at points, with long and suspenseful pauses. But at the same time, the dialogue often feels natural, and it is not too difficult to imagine two people having the same conversation in the real world.
It is Sorkin’s ability to balance reality and drama, the balance between what actually happened and dynamic characterization that allows a viewer to watch the film and relate to these characters.
The viewer does not have to suspend his or her disbelief in order to feel Zuckerberg’s overzealousness as he craves nothing but success for his dorm-launched project, “thefacebook.com.” Within this, Sorkin also cleverly sneaks in fine details that the audience picks up unconsciously, which allow the viewer to be more deeply submerged in the themes of the film.
For those of you who have no idea what I just said in the past few sentences, you’re probably thinking at this point that this is another one of those films which is nothing but deep concepts that only stuck-up people pretend they understand.
It isn’t. The movie does a good job at appealing to an entire audience, rather than targeting a group of particular insightfulness.
At several moments the movie is quite humorous, ranging from Zuckerberg’s socially awkward, pessimistic behaviors to the insanity of the crazy “Why is your Facebook status ‘single’?” girlfriend, played by Brenda Song. There is no nudity, but, according to “The Social Network,” you would be surprised by how much sex and drugs went into making Facebook what it is today.
But realistically, the true appreciation of this movie doesn’t come simply from doorknobs and chimneys being broken, but how Sorkin manages to balance maintaining some level of accuracy.
Simply try to envision in your mind how Sorkin takes what was a “little intoxicated” college student hacking the facebooks to compare hotness of faces and turns Zuckerberg’s life exciting. He uses techniques like flashing forward while Zuckerberg is being sued to develop multiple subplots at once, and turn a life into a fast-paced, exaggerated two-hour film.
Though this technique might make the film more difficult to understand, it is important to remember that though Sorkin is not being completely factual, he is not trying to fabricate the truth and highlights actual appealing key events of the entrepreneur’s life.
The movie is funny, and when the movie brings “Silicon Valley’s bad boy” Sean Parker, the movie speeds up and moves out of Zuckerberg’s dorm room. But the most significant piece is not the chicken cannibalism or discussion of lingerie. Interested viewers will instead leave the theater with Andrew Garfield’s profound line as Eduardo Saverin, the first of 500 million friends.
Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography brings that modern feeling into the film, and does an excellent job with colors, angles, and focusing that many might not even notice, and therefore deserves recognition. It is not that the angles are a main focus, like the camerawork of Coen Brothers classics, but it is that the angles can go unappreciated, unaccounted for, that they do not compete with the focus of the film that makes them fitting.
And for those of you who see through these manipulative techniques, consider what you can learn about your peers from seeing what appeals to the audiences around you.
And it is true that both valuable time and money will have to be sacrificed to sit and watch this movie.
But in the end, it cannot be denied that “The Social Network,” more than any other movie of recent times or perhaps ever, this is a film about the social network we all know.
Much like the story of the newspaper magnate, the film is about the character who is the modern, Silicon Valley equivalent, as his talent and drive not only make his fortune but reshape the world for his time; and yet from that same ambition ends quietly alone.
It’s about the influence of high-tech on the modern society that envelopes us, and how even a seemingly non-profit social networking site becomes entangled in lawsuits, sharks.
Regardless of why you go see it, the movie is deeply relevant and encompasses topics that both affect our day-to-day life as well as our futures. Regardless of why you are interested, even the cynics must agree on one point.
This movie is about us.