Quint accepts THE SOCIAL NETWORK's friend request! How many times can he click "like"?
Published at: Sept. 13, 2010, 11:55 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a little tale to tell. I recently adventured out to Los Angeles on the invite of Sony Pictures in order to be one of the first people to see David Fincher’s The Social Network.
This flick has been high on my “must see” list ever since it was announced. I love David Fincher’s flicks (yes, I’ve forgiven him for mucking up Alien 3 and understand he did the best he could with the restraints put on him by the studio) and I’m a big fan of the young cast he assembled for this one.
Plus, having Aaron Sorkin behind the screenplay didn’t hurt either.
I stayed at the world famous Culver Hotel renowned for being the location of insane debauchery when the little people took it over during the filming of The Wizard of Oz. There are stories of midget and dwarf orgies in this place. Naturally nothing of that remained and I wasn’t haunted by horny Munchkin ghosts, either. Kind of a let down, but what are ya’ gonna do?
So, there I was with about 7 other people sitting in a theater on the Sony lot as the lights went down and the flick began.
And I was blown away. I went in with high hopes and the movie was everything I wanted and more. Clocking it at just over 2 hours, the flick has zero fat on it. That was the biggest surprise for me. I love Zodiac to death, but there are times in that movie where it crawls. Nothing like that here.
Fincher teamed with Sorkin was a fantastic stroke. All the characters pop. All the dialogue, whether sad, funny or serious, is sharp and most important of all entertaining.
Like the best dramas, there’s a ton of humor derived from the characters and their situations that helps the story fly by.
I know some people find Jesse Eisenberg irritating. I don’t, but I see how some people can get fed up with an actor who puts a lot of himself into every role so that every role has a certain similarity. Mark Zuckerberg is the character Jesse Eisenberg was born to play. His personality fits that guy like a glove.
The Zuckerberg in the movie is eccentric, intelligent and has quite an ego on him. The funny part is that Zuckerberg created one of the most widely used social programs in the history of man and is an awkward guy totally uncomfortable with anybody except for himself.
The narrative is told nonlinearly, flashing back and forth between the multiple lawsuits post-success of Facebook and the origin of the website. Sometimes that style can be forced and cliché (look at the 400,000 rip-offs of Pulp Fiction and tell me how many actually pulled it off), but Fincher uses it here to really give some umph to the earlier scenes of Zuckerberg’s shaky friendships, especially when it comes to Eduardo Saverin played by Andrew Garfield.
Speaking of I know a lot of you guys out there aren’t really behind Garfield as Spider-Man. Firstly, the Red Riding Trilogy is on Netflix Instant, so go watch the first movie (and then the next two… do it one sitting. Your ass will be sore, but you’ll thank me for it) which stars Garfield and you’ll get an idea of why I’m excited for him in the part.
If you’re still not convinced or on the fence I think his performance in The Social Network will sway you. For the more surface level proof, you’ll hear his American accent, which didn’t falter once, but deeper than you’ll see him playing a wide-eyed, nice guy college student. You’ll see how effortlessly he delivers the humor and how he can immediately balance it with the dramatic.
I have a feeling a lot of geeks will be solidly behind him as Peter Parker after seeing this movie.
Eisenberg and Garfield don’t hog the entire spotlight. Everybody is fantastic across the board, including Rooney Mara as Zuckerberg’s suffering girlfriend, Erica. I’d only really known her work from her brief bit YOUTH IN REVOLT and the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake, which is not a good indicator of her acting talents. In NIGHTMARE she just walked around looking confused all the time. Her part in THE SOCIAL NETWORK isn’t big, but she does more with it in her 7-ish or so minutes of screen time than she was able to do with the lead role in a Platinum Dunes movie. I think you’ll get why Fincher settled on her for his Lisbeth Salander.
Armie Hammer is also a standout as Cameron Winklevoss, a Richie Rich type who is convinced that he and twin brother (along with Max Minghella’s Divya Narendra) really came up with the seed that became Facebook… and he might be right. This flick doesn’t really tell you to root for Zuckerberg or those that claimed he ripped them off. Did he or didn’t he? That’s kinda left up to you, but like most things in life I think it’s a little yes and a little no.
Keep an eye on Hammer’s career. The dude was fantastic in the movie. He has the charm, physique and square jaw… you’ll see this man as a superhero mark my words.
And holy shit is Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor’s score amazing. It’s a little rock and roll, a little electronic, a little everything, but it all mixes together to make a score that didn’t just sit idly in the background as the movie played. Ross & Reznor’s score helps form the identity of the film, a complete surprise for me. Along with Hans Zimmer’s INCEPTION score this has a shot for ending up as my favorite of the year.
Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography is also brilliant. Now, I hate the look of digital movies usually. Too bright, too clean. Michael Mann used digital in an interesting way with COLLATERAL, but I felt the digital photography got in the way of his later film, PUBLIC ENEMIES. The Social Network looks like a digital film, but there’s a certain warmth and texture to it that is usually absent from most digital work. Cronenweth also shot FIGHT CLUB for Fincher, but that was 35mm.
I think Fight Club is a better looking movie, but much like how Fight Club’s look was perfect for the story, so is the look of The Social Network.
Fincher himself is in top form, pulling great performances from every actor, telling the story in a quick way, keeping thing lively and entertaining without losing any of the emotional impact. After 5 minutes I felt like I was on the periphery of this story, hanging out as the story was unfolding. It drew me in.
Oh, and I learned afterward there was an effect in the movie that I completely failed to notice. I won’t say what it is, but it’s pretty spectacular when you realize it.
What else can I say? I loved this movie and I think it officially kicks off the 2010 Oscar race.
It’s screening in New York very soon. I expect you’ll hear some raves when it does because above everything, above the technical artistry, the emotional impact, and the fantastic performances The Social Network is a hugely entertaining watch. It’s not often you get that right mix of art and entertainment. I believe Fincher found that sweet spot.
Follow Me On Twitter