The Social Network

In summary:  geeky social inadequate loses girlfriend, takes revenge, steals winning idea, gets rich, screws buddies, loses soul, hopes for redemption but ultimately fails to regain his humanity. In so doing, he takes advantage of flashy but effective direction, fine fizzing acting and a wisecracking script that never lets up for a second.

 

No, on second thoughts maybe wisecracking is not the right word, since wit is not the primary weapon of choice here. At times Zuckberg’s verbal dexterity is used as a battering ram to wear down participants in the urinating contest (as it were), and at others to obfuscate, dazzle and ultimately deceive himself, though he is almost outgunned in the wordplay stakes by Sean Parker of Napster fame.

This is a good film with lots of fine ingredients. it hangs together far better than it has any right to, though whether it ultimately satisfies seems to be a very personal thing. The Social Network, just like Facebook, seems to polarise opinion. At least one friend of mine claims to have fallen asleep while watching it, while others felt it tried to browbeat them or even insult their intelligence.

Like Enron, the inhabitants of The Social Network think they are “the smartest guys in the room” and they never tire of saying so in any number of ways. To some this appears merely vulgar and obnoxious, though the accuracy of the script in portraying Zuckerberg and cronies as they truly are seems never to have been questioned.

Zuckerberg himself seems to like the movie, but to treat it as total fiction.  He for one believes his own PR, and only ever sees himself as the good guy, though as the tag line for the movie says, “you don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies along the way.”  Even if this is a one-sided portrayal, it’s not without many elements of truth, even if its anti-hero has a blind spot about their existence.  Zuckerberg would sooner rewrite history in his favour, in which he belongs to the Joseph Stalin school of leadership.

Perhaps the motto is that films do not necessarily have to portray likeable characters and to have a regular romantic hero. Truth be told, none of the characters are very sympathetic, and the lack of a likeable person is what makes this unappealing to some. This is not, however, a reason to avoid it!! TSN is fascinating and worthy of at least two viewings, though won’t enter my top 100 movies without the benefit of much hindsight!

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