Strong Buzz Coming from Early Review of The Social Network
by Alex Billington
August 20, 2010
One of my most anticipated movies coming in fall is David Fincher's The Social Network. Despite being popularly known as the "Facebook Movie", I'm excited for it because I think it's a fascinating, contemporary story and I love David Fincher. I haven't seen it yet but a very early review of the film hit on Film Comment (via Awards Daily) written by critic Scott Foundas and it's even a lot more positive than I expected it to be. Foundas calls The Social Network, "splendid entertainment from a master storyteller, packed with energetic incident and surprising performances." You can read his full review or I've highlighted the best parts below.
Here's a few of the key sections from Foundas' review that really touch on how great The Social Network is:
"This is very rich material for a movie on such timeless subjects as power and privilege, and such intrinsically 21st-century ones as the migration of society itself from the real to the virtual sphere—and David Fincher's The Social Network is big and brash and brilliant enough to encompass them all. It is nominally the story of the founding of Facebook, yes, and how something that began among friends quickly descended into acrimony and litigation once billions of dollars were at stake. But just as All the President's Men—a seminal film for Fincher and a huge influence on his Zodiac—was less interested by the Watergate case than by its zeitgeist-altering ripples, so too is The Social Network devoted to larger patterns of meaning. It is a movie that sees how any social microcosm, if viewed from the proper angle, is no different from another—thus the seemingly hermetic codes of Harvard University become the foundation for a global online community that is itself but a reflection of the all-encompassing high-school cafeteria from which we can never escape…"
"I hasten to add that The Social Network is splendid entertainment from a master storyteller, packed with energetic incident and surprising performances (not least from Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker, who’s like Zuckerberg’s flamboyant, West Coast id). It is a movie of people typing in front of computer screens and talking in rooms that is as suspenseful as any more obvious thriller. But this is also social commentary so perceptive that it may be regarded by future generations the way we now look to Gatsby for its acute distillation of Jazz Age decadence. There is, in all of Fincher’s work, an outsider’s restlessness that chafes at the intractable rules of 'polite' society and naturally aligns itself with characters like the journalist refusing to abandon the case in Zodiac and Edward Norton’s modern-day Dr. Jekyll in Fight Club…"
I'm sure there's going to be a few dissenters coming out of the woodwork now claiming that there's just "no way" a movie about Facebook could be that good, but I think they need to open themselves up. This review is the first big step towards convincing those of you who doubted that Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin could tackle such a recent story as the founding of Facebook with this much depth and brilliance, but they actually have done that. I can believe it and this only makes me more excited to see it. It may be partially that I think Fincher is a great filmmaker and can usually do no wrong, but it's also that I think there's just something very intriguing about the story that I hope he's brought through on film (it sounds like he has).
The Social Network will open the New York Film Festival next month and it arrives in theaters everywhere on October 1st. I'm extremely anxious to see it and I hope I get the opportunity to check it out and relay my thoughts to you guys. There's probably going to be a lot of debate over its merits and whether it's really as great as Foundas (or anyone else who loves it) says, but I have a feeling Fincher and Sorkin pulled it off and have put together a fantastic film. I'll be reading any other reviews that pop up and I hope those of you who aren't interested yet finally take notice, as The Social Network may indeed be one of the highlights of 2010.