sat 24/10/2020

DVD: The Social Network | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Social Network

DVD: The Social Network

Status update: the Facebook movie which found drama in geekdom

In films featuring computer whizzes, there is always a key scene in which, to illustrate the whizziness, a star actor bashes on a keyboard at implausible warp speed. The Social Network is the first major film to respond to the drama inherent in the internet boom. (What’s next? Google in China: the movie? Tehran: the Twitter Revolution?) But it’s one of The Social Network's unremarked attractions that a movie starring computers has no truck with fetishising geekery.

As the cast and writer Aaron Sorkin bend over backwards to explain in the DVD extras, this is not a film about Facebook. It could be about any power struggle in any boardroom. What made it so attractive in the multiplexes is not just the age of the people doing the struggling, but the fact that they’re fighting over something of more relevance to a cinema audience than, say, control of a bank. They’re all attractive too. All apart from Jesse Eisenberg, who looks if anything even more dweeby than Mark Zuckerberg, the man whose founding of Facebook is disputed by others in The Social Network - the others being played by dreamboats (Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and, as a pair of dim socialite twins, Armie Hammer). Eisenberg doesn't type fast to semaphore his lightning mind; he talks fast. The pleasure of watching with a thumb on the rewind button is that Sorkin’s smart dialogue can be replayed at leisure.

The Social Network is, of course, about friendship, the planetary irony being that a site devoted to creating friendships was built on the destruction of one. There's something a bit Greek about it. Director David Fincher beautifully contrives to make computer screens an organic part of the film’s aesthetic, which will have helped win him the Bafta last week. If the film has a flaw it's that it could have done with its day in court. The drugs-bust climax doesn't feel any more climactic on second viewing.

Watch the trailer for The Social Network

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