Celebrating Great Films

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Social Network

#133 at time of writing.

In 1999, David Fincher captured the zeitgeist of a generation brimming with pre-millennial angst in Fight Club. Now, a decade later, he's done it again. The Social Network is today's zeitgeist, and this time it's a true story. An important story that needed to be told.

It's a completely different film to Fight Club, of course, but it displays just as much confidence, humour and darkness. The Social Network tells how brainiac Mark Zuckerberg went from nerding out in his Harvard dorm room to becoming the world's youngest billionaire, thanks to inventing Facebook.

Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is based on Ben Mezrich's book, which in turn is based mainly on the testimony of an embittered Eduardo Saverin, who had to sue Mark Zuckerberg to get his credit for co-founding Facebook. Unsurprisingly, Eduardo Saverin's character comes across the best in the film, if a little naïve. (Brave to make an unflattering film about real and very litigious people...)

The real Mark Zuckerberg refused to be involved in the production of either the book or the film. So it's hard to say how accurate the story really is, but it's damned entertaining. And, personally, I believe the ruthless, asocial, quiet, brainbox version of Mark Zuckerberg that is portrayed in this film. I'm willing to see him as a bad guy. After all, he is responsible for a website that allows such despicable activity as Holocaust denial groups to flourish, whilst irrecoverably removing accounts - without warning - such as my friend's just because his Facebook name was David IHateFacebookAldhouse.

And this man, Mark Zuckerberg, who is now 26 years old and worth $6.9billion, controls the personal details of over 500 million active members. That's one out of every fourteen people in existence. Scary.

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