No matter how high the praise, nothing particularly enticed me to see The Social Network. Sitting down to watch it this week, not even the Oscar success had psyched me up for the viewing. An hour after seeing it, I thought it was very good, but not great. Now, a few days after, the Facebook film (that’s not really about Facebook) has got me as hooked as a bored housewife on Farmville, clogging up your feed.
But The Social Network is so much more than a document of the biggest tool for procrastination of ‘our time’. It is a unique blend of scarcely executed genre’s, re-imagined for the very generation the film depicts. It brings the courtroom drama and character study a zeitgeist swagger. The courtroom is no longer one which deliberates murder, but something much more contemporary; civil disputes, or to be more accurate, suing the hell out
of the world’s youngest billionaire. Although Network sees Fincher play it relatively straight compared to his usual plot contortions, he still manages to create an eerily compulsive story out of what is essentially a friendship breakup. The hypnotic combination of Reznor’s score and partnering up again with Cronenweth to create that peculiarity of Fincher features.
The ‘other Facebook film’ which appeared on the scene just before Fincher’s is Catfish, a documentary which traces one man’s intriguing online happenstance. In some ways this is a more enthralling film than The Social Network, even amidst claims of liberal artistic license. As the three filmmakers embark on a journey to uncover who is really on the end of a long chain of Facebook messages, the documentary presents a rousing and tragic reflection of modern life.
Both these timely releases provide a sharp comment on the uses and abuses of communication, whether that’s the ease in creating a false persona, or the strive to realize that your ‘I’m CEO, bitch’ business card, comes above all else.