Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Fincher/Sorkin's THE SOCIAL NETWORK: everything you expected -- and more
THE SOCIAL NETWORK? You won't under-stand until you sit there in the theater, hanging on for dear life, struggling to keep up with dialog that's both cracker-jack and fire-cracker, coming as it does from some mostly very smart people who know a lot more than you and are happy to make you aware of this fact. I can't remember any movie as dialog-prone as this one -- written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and directed by David Fincher (Zodiac) -- that barrels along at 90 miles-a-minute for two full hours, after which you'd be exhausted,
if your weren't so exhilarated.
As director, Mr. Fincher (above left) has wisely given over to that dialog of Mr. Sorkin (above right), letting his movie run, race, rise, crest then smash down on your ears with shock and delight, sometimes easing smoothly into those orifices, the better to allow that tiny, nasty jolt to come later. "You would do that for me?" asks Rooney Mara (below, as the about-to-be-ex girlfriend of our anti-hero, the as-usual-fabulous Jesse Eisenberg), with such delicate, stiletto-sharp shadings, that we cringe in delight. Humor consistently bubbles up through the nastiness and strivings of the youth on display, and this helps keep our enjoyment level extremely high.
Justin Timberlake, below), it's a shock -- and a reprieve. We can take a short visual break, as we watch the morning-after routine of Parker and his one-night-stand, played with just the right combination of naïveté and smarts by Dakota Johnson. Once both parties are sufficiently awake, we're off and running with some more great dialog. Sorkin's writing gift is not so much to create the differing manner and speech patterns through which many different types of people talk (there's really little variation from character to character), but rather to take a subject, just about any subject, and let his characters run with it believably and generously so that not just conversations, but whole worlds open in front of us, which we can be a part of -- if only we can keep up.
Facebook, by Mark Zuckerberg and his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield, shown at bottom) plus a few hangers-on (played by Arnie Hammer, below, right, and in the penultimate photo, and Max Minghella, below, left) who, from what we see, probably provided a good portion of the idea behind the idea for the site. Women are definitely secondary, mostly sexual, objects in the movie, which is no doubt how it was and is in the technological realm, big business-style -- unless, of course, it's the woman who has the idea and/or the business. The major females of The Social Network include Ms Mara, as the early and never-quite-forgotten "love" object (or whatever passes for love in the Zucker-berg brain) and Brenda Song (two photos below) as a blow-job-in-a-bathroom sex object who lingers a lot longer. Working with a truly enormous cast of speaking roles, Fincher makes sure that every one of them registers strongly in his or her moment(s), and this ability adds immeasurably to the movie's "reality" credentials.
article in this weeks New York magazine about a new "fab four" and their Diaspora*.)
TrustMovies, with his advanced years and ever more cynical view of our world, prefers Never Let Me Go, as this year's more important and profound look at life in our world. But for intelligent mainstream audiences (do these still exist? The Social Contract's box-office grosses will tell the tale) willing to be challenged, this film will likely win the awards, as well as the coin of the realm. It is certainly a don't-miss movie and an enormous achievement in terms of American movie-making.
Film Forum will offer a double bill of The Social Network and Catfish, at which viewers will marvel that such old-fashioned technology ever existed -- and wonder how human beings could have actually believed in, and given such power to, a concept as paltry as this one. "Friends" indeed.
Columbia Pictures/Sony, which made its debut at the opening night of the NY Film Festival last week, opens theatrically Friday, October 1, nationwide (in the bigger cities, at least). Go to this link, scroll down a bit, type in your zip code to find a theater near you -- then hope for the best.