Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

The Social Network

October 21, 2010

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook: it’s a global phenomenon. You might, if you were so inclined, even call it the apex of online communication media – more instant than email, less cluttered than Myspace and bizarrely addictive without really doing anything much at all. But how interesting can a movie that documents the origins of the site truly be?

Well, pretty darn fascinating, it turns out. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay was adapted from Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, which revealed the legal… er, ‘complications’ that occurred during the site’s development, and director David Fincher weaves the resultant mish-mash of intrigue, betrayal and (I’m afraid so) computer jargon into a hugely engrossing picture.

Baby-faced Jesse Eisenberg plays socially inadequate hacker Mark Zuckerberg, who is frustrated by his inability to communicate with people (and one girl in particular) with the same ease that he manipulates algorithms or HTML. So far so Weird Science? Not really. Although things get pretty ridiculous, there are no cyber-babes or mutant bikers to be seen. Instead we get a noteworthy Justin Timberlake, as the cocky-but-paranoid Napster creator Sean Parker, a sterling turn from Andrew Garfield as Mark’s “only friend” Eduardo Saverin, and Armie Hammer playing both of the Winklevoss twins with some degree of panache.

Try as they might, however, none of the above quite manage to steal scenes from the increasingly impressive Eisenberg. Following his two star turns in last year’s Adventureland and Zombieland, you might have been forgiven for thinking the lad had been shoved in a curly wig and told ‘be like Michael Cera’, although frankly this does a disservice to both Cera’s naturalistic instincts and Eisenberg’s natural presence. He spreads out a little here – he does confused and awkward, sure, but then there’s total self-assurance in there too – especially in one particularly rousing speech where he responds to a cross-examination by stating in no uncertain terms why he hasn’t been paying attention. As ever with rising young actors, it’s too early to make grand claims for him just yet, but it’s hard not to imagine that we’re watching a genuine star in the ascendent right now.

It’s not all perfect – the closing scene returns to an idea from the movie’s opening sequence in a way that seems needlessly eliptical, as though it’s just there to tie the movie together rather than with any plot-related justification (apologies for being vague. I’m trying to avoid spoilers). However the non-linear sequencing works a treat, adding to the mystery along with Trent Reznor’s brooding, perfectly apt score.

One common question amongst reviewers has been whether the story is true. Ultimately, the only thing to ask in response is ‘who cares?’ Fincher and Sorkin have managed to make a compelling modern legal drama that’s relatable to life outside the courtroom and somehow hip with it. The Social Network is: well worth your time. Go see it.

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Lately

October 18, 2010

Recent habits, for shits and giggles.

Listening:

  • Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand, Tonics & Twisted Chasers, Box
  • Alice Cooper – Trash
  • Algernon Cadwallader – Some Kind Of Cadwallader
  • Shorebirds – It’s Gonna Get Ugly
  • RVIVR – RVIVR

Reading:

  • David Mitchell – number9dream
  • Richard Herring – How Not To Grow Up
  • Sean Manning (ed.) – Rock And Roll Cage Match

Watching:

  • The Social Network
  • Lonesome Jim
  • Back To The Future
  • Adventureland (again)