It was baffling when this film was announced. A film about Facebook? Directed by David Fincher? With music by Trent Reznor? And then, just to confuse me even further, all those glowing reviews of the finished product. Could it possibly be all that? Well, yeah, I suppose so. Perfectly handsome production, well designed, well-directed, well acted, well scored… the only problem is that, well, it’s full of arseholes. I mean, almost everyone who counts as a major figure in this story comes off as a bit of a cock to some degree or other, and the prime cock is Mark Zuckerberg, Mr Facebook himself. The tone is kind of set right from the beginning when his girlfriend says girls won’t hate him for being a geek, they’ll hate him for being an arsehole, whereupon he evidently decides he may as well prove her right. From there the story develops into an initially confusing switch between the story of the rise of Facebook and Zuckerberg’s lawsuits with FB co-founder Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss twins who “gave him” the idea for FB in the first place. I don’t know the extent to which the film’s depiction of events is 100% accurate or honest, but the impression it left me with was one of not terribly interesting disputes (this shit is hard to make visually interesting) between not terribly pleasant people (isn’t it kind of delightful to see the “Winklevi” pwn3d —sorry, couldn’t resist that—by the president of Harvard?), with our lead figure being the least pleasant of all. The film suddenly tries to humanise him near the end, but it rings false, as up to then we’ve only seen him as, basically, a charmless, graceless prick who’s kind of ultimately driven by spite over being dumped by a girl. It’s not a bad performance by Jesse Eisenberg by any means, but it’s a limited character he has to play… and ultimately I don’t really give a shit how well the film is made technically when it’s kind of this empty at its core.
The Social Network (2010)