Movie: The Social Network

Welcome to the Long Tail of greed.

The Social Network is a modern parable and a flawed tragedy, easily Fincher’s most mainstream film. Yet in many ways a sequel to Fight Club…think what would happen if you took Project Mayhem online.

Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, A Few Good Men) and David Fincher (if you don’t know who that is, leave now) have teamed up to tell one version of the Facebook story. With this much money, power, bitterness, hot chicas plus lawyers inserted into the mix it’s doubtful we’ll ever get the true story. I’m not even sure if the folks involved know the truth anymore. Thus the most important conviction in the information era:

Who you are online is everything. Who you are online is more important than IRL.

Facebook easily establishes your identity; all you have to do is decide who you are or who you want to be. Folks complain about boring status updates (eating a sandwich, taking a nap etc.) but those boring-fools don’t have vision, they don’t see the possibilities of who they could become…online.

Mark Zuckerberg an unaccepted loser realized this, easily cobbling together vision. Loser no more, he seized the internet as his phone booth transforming from Clark Kent to Superman. Sarcastically played by Jesse Eisenberg whose most powerful weapon was a decimating stare. You can see him dissecting the other characters, peeling back to their core so it really shouldn’t shock when his words are so on target to maim. Or that’s he’s brilliant.

1 idea…1 simple idea was all it took. And the idea wasn’t even Facebook…it was the age old notion of belonging. Belonging 2.0.

Ideas are compelling. We send troops to die for oil, knowing that era is rapidly coming to a disastrous and bitter end. New wars will be fought over ideas, over intellectual property. Only instead of taking sand cover landscapes these wars will be fought in boardrooms: Operation Corporate Storm. While the resolute example of Google’s somewhat harmonious relationship stands as an example it’s also an anomaly. For Facebook it’s astonishing how quickly everything fell apart and yet how rapidly everything fell into place.

1 idea…this is the new American dream. A 1 hit wonder in music can live comfortable for years. This is the new American dream. Thing is…can you live the consequences?

Fincher lets it all unfold straight and smooth. No odd camera angles…even layers of depth are absent and that’s really where the film stumbles. It’s presented as mainstream so while it’ll occasionally interject some cool ideas, insights don’t exactly abound. In particular the final scene is weak…a sort of Mark Zuckerberg rehabilitation, trying to leave the audience with the lingering notion that perhaps he was misjudged. Fired.

He wasn’t misjudged, he is who he is…in real life. It’s too little too late for sympathy or even grace.

Is it worth going to the cinema? Yes…go, debate with friends, we’re all online now so all our experiences are common. But know if you’ve missed it, it’s fine…you can catch it on video.


Also published on Medium.

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