Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Social Network (2010)

Last night, my wife and I were rummaging through the movies On-Demand and came across Starz offering 2010 film The Social Network as one of the free films. Since the price was right and we had some time on our hands, we decided to give it a watch.

Now, my impression of the first five minutes based on the scene with Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (played by Rooney Mara) was that this might be too much of a talky-film and not very interesting. Boy, did that change when the date ended and Zuckerberg went into uber-geek programmer mode. That got my interest going!

As a programmer since the age of 16 (I had my first computer science class my junior year of high school with a more indepth one senior year) and someone who was socially awkward like Zuckerberg, I could get where the character was coming from. He was not people smart but he was incredibly computer smart. I knew guys like him back in the early 80's. I was never that extreme though - I wasn't the type to crank out programs for the sake of doing so or for the challenge of seeing if an algorithm would work. I programmed for course assignments and that was about it.

Back to the film, I had a hard time finding any characters to be overly sympathetic towards. I wasn't a fan of the Wilklevoss brothers (Cameron and Tyler played by Armie Hammer) nor their partner Divya Narendra (played by Max Minghella). Co-ed Christy Lee (played by Brenda Song) came across as very troubled and needy (but a great acting job by this young lady who has been known mostly for her work on the Disney Channel TV shows and movies). Napster co-founder Sean Parker (played very well by Justin Timberlake) came across as someone in desperate need to be in the center of things yet ill-equipped to be responsible. The only character who came across as a true victim was Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield).

As I said, it took a bit to get into The Social Network. But once I did the film managed to be engaging and keep me interested for the two hour run. I wanted to see where the story would take the characters. While I know the screenplay was a Hollywood adaptation (by Adam Sorkin) of the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich and that it took some dramatic liberties with telling the "story" of the origins of Facebook, it still was entertaining. After all, the character drama devised by the film was more likely to interest an audience rather than scenes of geeks sitting around writing code (trust me - it is not glamorous).

I'd be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The musical cues for the film were perfect and really enhanced the film experience without overshadowing it. That's what a good score should do - be a well-meshed element to the overall film.

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