Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Social Network aka This review is rife with superlatives

As I type this, I have a few YouTube videos open showing cast interviews of Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield for The Social Network. I can't believe how fascinated I am by this movie. I caught it first on Monday last week and then again Thursday the same week.

The Social Network aka The Facebook Movie
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

I came to the movie a little apprehensive. I was scared I will be disappointed when I walk out of the movie house because I read and heard so many rave reviews the weeks leading to opening day. Everyone, sophisticated and poser critics alike, gave the movie stellar ratings. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 100%. The bar was just raised so high I was scared the movie might not measure up.

Then I finally saw the movie. Brilliant. It was so good I had to see it again. The dialogue was so loaded I was hanging on to every word the first watch. The second watch I enjoyed had the luxury of the first watch so I was able to catch up on the lines/punchlines I missed and some Harvard-speak I didn't get before. And the icing on the already awesome cake, I was able to appreciate more the Trent Reznor-Atticus Ross scoring. Chills.

The Mark-Erica break up over final clubs and row crew conversation
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

If I were to be asked what my favorite part of the movie was, it's the script, hands down. I have no words for how amused I was with the writing. I knew I would love the movie when 2 minutes into it Rooney Mara (as Erica Albright) said, "Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster."

And true to form, the movie was littered with winning one-liners that always fly as intended. The wit was spot on with just about the right amount of sarcasm. I loved how the first scene was a breakup scene rife with interesting argument and zero cheesy lines. The tension was imminent and the emotions were raw but the drama was never the in-your-face kind. I loved the perfect subtlety.

All throughout the movie, the dialogues are the kind of entertaining conversations you'd like to find yourself in. There was plenty of wit to go around until the end of the movie and the sentiments were honest. It was a very talk-y movie but never in the close to 2 hours we spent watching (twice over for me) did I get bored or lost in the intricate plot.

The Eduardo Saverin animal cruelty arc. This sequence was golden.
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

I said I wanted to write a review like a ~real movie critic, spotting the lapses and pointing out inconsistencies. But sitting down now tapping away in my computer, the only thing I find in me is the fangirl. I guess I was too floored, too busy swooning at the dialogue to even activate the wannabe snooty movie critic in me. I'd go out on a limb and say the storytelling was flawless, the editing was amazing and the points-of-view from where the movie jumps off from one scene to next unbelievable. If I hadn't implied it already, I love this movie so much.

I think it also helped a lot that the movie had a way of endearing you to the characters. Tehcnically, Zuck is the movie's protagonist but the different versions of the same story made it possible to see things also through the Winklevii's (wink wink) eyes and of course, through Eduardo Saverin's eyes. Awesome storytelling that lets you get a good look at the situation with a sense of  freedom to create your own judgment.

Some parts of the movie make you sympathize with Mark and the barrage of lawsuits. After seeing him depicted sleepless and all wasted, you know he is a hardworking man. At times you stand in awe at the bastard's genius that brought us the brand of social networking that literally changed the world as our generation knew it. At times you seethe with repulsion at the kind of very cold person that he is especially when you look at things through Eduardo Saverin. And well, there's the Winklevii, who are just so pretty it's a treat watch them breathe on screen.

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

More than The Social Network being about how Facebook came to life, there is much to be had from the movie. It's a specimen of a success story, although much of an outlier, that inspires. You have a showcase of the quintessential examples of the elements of success, the drive, the betrayal, the eyes on the prize and the unbelievable luck that your stars aligned at right about the perfect fucking time.

I'd like to think that the best takeaway for me from the movie is how Mark Zuck is all about 'no apologies'. No apologies that he's a genius, no apologies that he's a douche, no apologies that he created what may be the greatest innovation in communication for this generation and no apologies about his megalomaniac tendencies.

I will be forever haunted by the kind of raw honesty, audacity and certainty of this one Mark Zuck line in the deposition. He was asked a question and he, on a totally unrelated note, answered that 'it was raining outside'. He was then asked if was giving his full attention to the proceedings with which he answers:
"I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition and I don't want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no. I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have to right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention -- you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. Did I adequately answer your condescending question?"
Yeah, I have a feeling I will go on to download this movie and watch it third time. And then a fourth time, and more.

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