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Movie Review: The Social Network (The Facebook Movie)

David Fincher and Crew Deliver Entertaining Telling of Facebook's Origins

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It’s not often I get the opportunity to write movie reviews for WebProNews, because it’s not often that major motion pictures are released about subjects within our general scope of coverage. I had the opportunity to attend a screening of The Social Network last night, so it seems appropriate that I offer my thoughts about the film here. 

Do you plan to see The Social Network? Let us know.

Interestingly, the theater had tighter security than some airports I’ve been to – no phones allowed. We’re talking metal detectors, searches, and multiple guards. 

I’m not going to get into all the fiction vs. non-fiction stuff too much. Anybody who has read about the founding of Facebook has probably formed their own opinions, while few can really say with any certainty how it all went down. There are multiple books about it. There are countless articles about it, covering it from numerous angles. 

Facebook has dismissed the movie as fiction. Aaron Greenspan, who settled with Facebook over a dispute last year (and wrote one of the books) calls it non-non-fiction. I’m going to try to look at this simply as a movie goer and someone who has read The Accidental Billionaires, the book on which the movie is based. Any references I make to people involved in the story will be based upon The Social Network’s portrayal of them – their "characters" if you will – not necessarily their real-life counterparts. How close they are to one another is up for anyone to form an opinion about. 

Based on the real life Mark Zuckerberg’s public appearances, interviews, etc., I would say that Jesse Eisenberg was a good casting decision. Based on the book, I think he did a fine job portraying the Zuckerberg character, as did Justin Timberlake portraying Sean Parker. In fact, based on the book, I don’t think any character was miscast (real-life is harder to say, as an outsider). 

The film did a pretty good job of capturing the various emotions of the story itself (as did the book). There are quite a few laughs throughout. You can feel the betrayal and the toll it takes on those betrayed (with perhaps the exception of one character, which was accompanied by more detail in the book – I won’t name names, to avoid spoilers for those unfamiliar with the story). For some the betrayal comes off as heartbreaking, while for others it comes off as humorous. 

The Social Network

Trent Reznor’s score was adequate. Those familiar with Nine Inch Nails’ catalog will recognize the majority of the score as his (save for things like a rendition of "In the Hall of the Mountain King"). The score does set an interesting tone for the story that the book is unable to accomplish, simply as a result of the medium. 

The film is not director David Fincher’s finest work (I’m still partial to Se7en, Fight Club, and The Game), but it’s certainly on par with, if not above titles like Panic Room, Zodiac, and The Curious case of Benjamin Button, strictly in terms of entertainment value (we’ll leave Alien 3 out of this). 

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin did a pretty good job of bringing the book to the screen, though there are some things left out. This is pretty standard for any book-to-film project though, so I can’t take too many points away for that. Trimming kept the film at a good  two-hour runtime (approximately).  

A lot of the talk about this movie has been about its portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, and how it will affect people’s opinions of him and the company. While clearly, the company isn’t thrilled about it, I don’t think perception will be as bad as they might think. Much of the audience seemed to laugh along with Zuckerberg through the majority of the film, and while some may have found numerous actions he took coldblooded, I think for the most part, much of the audience empathized with him, at least to some extent. That’s in the storytelling. The characters. Real life? You tell me. 

Have you seen The Social Network? Do you plan to? Tell us what you think about it.

Movie Review: The Social Network (The Facebook Movie)
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  • http://www.intentionalfoul.com IFChris

    Thumbs up, then?

    • Chris Crum

      Yeah, I enjoyed it.

  • Scott B

    But like most movie adaptations, the book was the better option?

    • Chris Crum

      I think they the book and the movie complement each other pretty well. I think I probably enjoyed the movie more having read the book. But if you haven’t read the book, you probably won’t miss the missing details. If you want the most information, read the book. As I touched upon in the article, however, the movie has things like the score going for it that kind of set the tone, which you can’t get from the book. I recommend both.

  • http://realitytruck.blogspot.com ace

    We saw the Thursday advance screening — the day facebook crashed — and the day the news “leaked” about Zuckerberg’s $100 million challenge grant to Newark. (“Know what’s cooler than a Million dollars? A billion dollars?) http://realitytruck.blogspot.com/2010/09/facebook-movie.html

  • http://roza29.blogspot.com rozani

    i only to go movie without read the book

  • Guest

    As an older person, in 1998, when I realized that my business life was going to involve sitting in front of a screen, I cried. Real tears. Tech life is so unromantic, clinical and located INDOORS- and so unappealing to me that I will never see this movie. Get me away from tech crap and get
    me to interactiung with nature, human beings, animals art, travel-ANYTHING BUT being inside (again) and watching a movie about Facebook. YUCK!

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    The upside for my business is that there will be many more inquiries from prospective clients ‘who have seen the movie’ who will want to us to build their dream concept for the next new web appication.

    The downside is I will have to spend lots of time trying to explain to them why they will need to mortgage their house to do this.

  • http://www.medlawplus.com medlaw

    The movie Wall Street with Gordon Gecko’s “greed is good” has opened the public’s eyes to corporate titans. Funny thing is that Oliver Stone’s villian, Gecko, turned out to be something of a hero in American culture. Many people aspire to live the Gecko lifestyle (and the one Bud Fox enjoyed before it all came crashing down). I see no negatives for Zuckerberg. The old line from Patton resonates here, “America loves a winner” … and add that America is not real particular about how the person played the game.

  • http://www.classycateringcreations.com Richard Bishop

    I think the movie will have a positive impact on social networking. I think it will not only show how Facebook came to be but will also show how powerful having a great social network will be. As a result I believe that Facebooks popularity not that it needs any help but it will continue to grow. Thus resulting in an even greater impact on the Fan Pages for the businesses.
    I definitely plan to see this movie.

  • Guest

    Yes, I would like to see it. And shall do so…
    As a non American and a guy old enough to remember when B Gates and S Job got started.
    I am keenly watching the subtle changes in “this” IT generation, especially this rare individual who didn’t just do quite well, but created Billions.
    Seemingly he is “already” donating 100 Million to a cause of his choosing. I have to say the people I mentioned at the outset were not so giving, at such an early stage ( or at all in some cases).
    Hats off to him.

    Facebook, has for sure made a huge impact in the world. Hotmail was pretty cool when it came out, but its not even close to the multifaceted usage and Social acceptance of Facebook. I have yet to meet somebody (anybody) who doesn’t either use it, or has family members who do.

    Paul W.

  • morestar

    Aside from a few movies out there like Hackers, there’s none that are up to date and about such things as social networking and in this case the largest social network in the world.

    Although it seems like it may (I stress may) be directed towards a younger generation I still think I’m going to enjoy what the writes and producers have put together and their interpretation of the events that lead to Facebook’s popularity.

    It’s generally based on a true story right?

  • http://eurika-barnard.blogspot.com Eurika

    Was good to see.
    I enjoyed it.

  • Nick Baer

    Maybe, maybe not. Movie theaters are not usually good experiences for watching movies! Whether I go depends on what else is happening inmy life.

    This movie is promoted from the surfer’s point of view of social networking, and outsiders’ view of the tech industry as weird anti-establishment party freaks.

    Mark’s PR efforts this past week, including his appearance on Oprah!, is already in contrast to that.

  • http://msuwordsmith.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    As a college professor, I’m hoping the movie holds some lessons for my PR and social media students – taking three classes on a major field trip to see this film the opening weekend!

  • Bob

    I got a hold of the audio The Accidental Billionaires and man that was horrible. That Facebook has more baggage that this pervert cousin of mine… Haven’t finished them yet. Thanks Chris.

    • Guest

      if they made a movie that was based on actual events and what actually happen, it would be boring as hell.

      truth be told I think two random guys got together, stoled some ideas “like al gore has like when he claim to have made the internet, spent lot of time either partying, or hanging together in there dorm, and came up with thing for people to do whatever on, and called it facebook.

      Probably burnt a lot of bridges, screwed lot people over, and got rich doing it, and became the capitalist you know whats they are today, there I save everyone 10 dollars from seeing this movie! lol

  • http://bloggingforpassiveincome.com/ jing827

    Hmmm…will see the movie definitely. I want to know how it all started.

  • Zane

    I find this movie as pointless as the movie about the guy that made movie about counting cards in vegas, if people consider this a good movie, its only because they dont know what a good movie really is.

    Whats next myspace, twitter, yearbook, youtube the movie, I mean it’s sad when movies have be quote on quote based on so called events, bad enough reality shows are ruining tv, now seem,s there ruining movies to, its a damn shame.

    I personally dont hate facebook, but I do see it as like shameless advertising, I mean your basically spending money to watch a movie to here them say facebook every other few minutes, with some made up crap that probably never even happen that way in real life.

    If it wasn’t for the movie being so fake as hell and being shameless means to promote thereselfs more I might have actually taken the means money to go see it.

    The truth is, all because I use facebook doesn’t mean I give a damn about how it was made or who made it, much like the internet, the cell phone and most other things we use.

    The only thing that has made social network in my opinion I notice by most people is its glitches and bugs, and how they have the same stupid you know whating background, not fb bashing just stating the facts,

    Maybe when social network 2: How I lost 5 million friends comes out be the story how he lost it all!

  • http://www.clibrokers.com John

    South Forbes Golf City is the Philippines fastest-selling golf residential community. Since it’s introduction in 2004, the world-class designs of this fully integrated golf resort city have attracted a huge following from home buyers and property investors. Strategically located in south of Metro Manila, South Forbes enjoys proximity to techno parks, top schools, and commercial centers. South Forbes Golf City offers you the best thematic designs the world has to offer, only at the choice residential resort address in booming Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

  • http://www.clibrokers.com John

    South Forbes Golf City is the Philippines fastest-selling golf residential community. Since it’s introduction in 2004, the world-class designs of this fully integrated golf resort city have attracted a huge following from home buyers and property investors. Strategically located in south of Metro Manila, South Forbes enjoys proximity to techno parks, top schools, and commercial centers. South Forbes Golf City offers you the best thematic designs the world has to offer, only at the choice residential resort address in booming Sta. Rosa, Laguna

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