The Social Network Movie Review

Did I adequately answer your condescending question?  I was there when he fed chicken to his chicken.  A cannibal animal – legit grounds for termination.  $18,000 plus $1,000?  Yes, I get the same number as you.  I’m the CEO, Bitch.  It’s on my business card.  Next question…

One Word Movie Review: GREAT

The Social Network kicks off with Jack White’s guitar riff from Ball and Biscuit as the camera pans across a Harvard pub to a table where Mark Zuckerberg drinks beer with his date, Erica Albright.  The conversation is scattershot with elliptical leaps of obscurity concerning the huge quantity of Chinese geniuses, the ease of entering exclusive clubs and Teddy Roosevelt.  Poor Erica dumps Mark after remarking “dating you is like dating a Stairmaster”.  This rejection is the spark for nerdy a-hole Mark to change the world by starting a string of web sites which eventually morphs into Facebook.

This conversation returns full-circle by the end of The Social Network but we have several lawsuits and a few billion dollars to chew through before this simple connection between two college students returns us to the core of Facebook’s success.  It is a joyous ride, told in the same jumpy ellipses as this first conversation.  The clever script by Aaron Sorkin, based partly on the book, “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich keeps us engaged by layering the “freakishly addictive” Facebook experience on the aloof, nerdy shoulders of the a-hole Mark who remains essentially the same introverted programming whiz to the end, still trying to connect with Erica (his measure of social networking success).

Director David Fincher wisely uses the Harvard backdrop to set the right environment for a social network to go viral in days and weeks, growing like a plague across colleges and becoming the essential cool medium for hot contacts.  He shifts the story to the money and the lawyers frequently, using depositions and testimony as windows into the shades of truth declared under oath by the main players as they divide the spoils of the great idea we now know as the 500 million member Facebook global community.

Just as Facebook was a culmination of craft, insight and timing, The Social Network clicks on these same levels including the most elusive of factors, great timing.  We watch Gordon Gekko in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, sensing time already slipping into antiquity for these Wall Street characters.  This contrast between old and new is reinforced by The Social Network, where it not about the money at all, but the purity of idea and the ability to “get it” or “get out of the way”.

This movie is all about the idea economy we now live in, beyond the old model of taking a slice of the action to the great inventive spark of entrepreneurship that ignores the rules and demands a certain type of a-hole to make magic happen.

Hollywood itself thrives on ideas (even if they like to retread the same idea over and over again) so this movie is a natural subject for the dream factory.  For once, they got it right.

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