Classic Review: ‘The Social Network’ (2010)


Fair use image from Relativity Media

Isaac Owens, Broadcasting Manager

With director David Fincher’s effortlessly cool filmography, his gritty dive into the foundations of Facebook, The Social Network, reigns supreme.

Beginning with the dark crime thriller Se7en, Fincher quickly became known for his twisted style of direction. Moving on to creating movies including Fight Club and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Fincher’s reputation for being one of Hollywood’s most stylistic filmmakers continues to grow.

In his most universally accessible film to date, Fincher teams up with Oscar winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to tell the story of Mark Zuckerberg and his creation of Facebook. Not lacking Fincher’s grit, The Social Network is the closest PG-13 can get to an R rating. Involving themes of drugs, sex, and most of all obsession, the film highlights the dark drive of a person’s desire to fit in.

Opening with the now famous bar scene, in which Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) exchanges thoughts with his girlfriend, Sorkin presents a dialogue that is able to entirely capture the genius’s persona in one scene. The scene displays Sorkin’s abilities as a screenwriter and introduces Eisenberg’s uncanny ability to capture his fast talking, cocky and ultimately insecure character.

What drives the film is its energy. Whether it be the performances, direction, writing or incredible soundtrack from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the movie is a pure example of captivating filmmaking.

With a cast that is almost entirely composed of young adults, finding the right actors for the job can make or break any film. Fincher’s frequently used casting director, Laray Mayfield, has often given his movies fantastic ensemble casts, but The Social Network is her best work yet. Along for the ride with Eisenberg are Andrew Garfield (as Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin) and Justin Timberlake (as Napster founder Sean Parker). In face of the threat of Eisenberg stealing the show, Garfield and Timberlake are more than capable at holding their own. These performances come across so naturally that it seems as though Fincher stepped back and let the actors become the characters themselves.

Almost any David Fincher movie is immediately recognizable because of his color saturating trademark. With various filters, symbolising different emotions, his films feel very atmospheric and moody. Lowering white tones and increasing oranges for The Social Network lent a dark and gloomy look to the Harvard campus setting. The director’s meticulous attention to detail and editing techniques provide much of the movie’s energy. With two Oscar wins and nominations for editing, Fincher’s talents shine through best in post-production.

Legendary biopic screenwriter Aaron Sorkin delivers a storytelling punch, with his crafting of unforgettable and diverse personalities in this film. Known for his fast paced, brilliant and painfully funny screenplays, Sorkin here works wonders that won him an Academy Award. The Social Network’s flawless script forms the backbone of this infinitely memorable movie.

The film is a near masterpiece with its wonderful performances, direction and writing alone, but what ties the package together is its soundtrack. Composed by Nine Inch Nails’ lead vocalist Trent Reznor and producer Atticus Ross, the Oscar winning scores in this movie enhance its atmosphere. Beginning with the track “Hand Covers Bruise”, following the breakup of Zuckerberg and his girlfriend, we are presented with a hollow and cold-sounding song that amplifies the character’s conflicted emotions. Continuing on to “A Familiar Taste”, a tune of wiry torment, we see Zuckerberg in his anger fueled element as he retaliates against his recent ex. It is in moments such as these that the music sets the tone and ties a scene together.

Up until Fincher’s 2008 film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he was known purely for his dark and at times gruesome movies; with Button and now The Social Network, Fincher has proved his versatility. The Mark Zuckerberg biopic is by far Fincher’s best work, and it is a film that will live on through its memorably brassy characters.

The Social Network is an readily rewatchable movie that introduced Hollywood’s new generation of actors, a standalone soundtrack, and is another excellent job done by Fincher and Sorkin.