Sunday, October 3, 2010
We Are The Social Network
The Social Network is one of those rare films that defines a generation and a decade. I will say that this is the film of the year, yet I will even go so far to say that this is the film of the decade.
The Social Network has created so much buzz and hype around Hollywood and those in popular culture.
The question is, does it really live up to the hype, or does it fall short?
The Social Network does live up to its hype, but it manages to send a deeper message that most audiences will fail to see at first glance.
The first things that I will acknowledge in this film is that the acting is superb. Jesse Eissenberg played his part perfectly as Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin was absolutely brilliant. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker was a real show stealer though as his presence and charisma on screen dominated the film and gave the film the extra punch it needed.
The screenplay and the dialogue is absolutely brilliant and its definitely Aaron Sorkin's best writing in years. The cinematography is beautiful and the musical score by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) and Atticus Ross is absolutely wonderful and fits the film perfectly.
The Social Network does have one flaw and that would be the pacing of the film. The pacing of the film, especially in the beginning is uneven at times and this is apparent in some places in the middle too, there are some scenes that could have been cut out of the film, but that the only issue I had with the film.
The main thing that I really want to get into about this film is the message and the deeper context hidden within it. Throughout the entire film, Mark is seen and painted as horrible, selfish, manipulative and callous person. To Eissenberg's credit, he played Mark as someone who was inhuman, someone who was incapable of showing the slightest bit of emotion. The very little emotion he showed in the film was through his facial expressions, which were subtle.
The only hint of humanity that was left in this entire film were through Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) and Eduardo Saverin. As Eduardo was only trying to help Mark and do what is best for him, Mark was pushing him away and becoming addicted to the greed, success and attention that Mark desperately craved. As Eduardo famously points out near the end of the film "I was your only friend."
I did not see this film as a criticism of Facebook or any other social networking site that people of my generation use, I saw this film as a criticism of our generation as a whole. I have heard the previous generations say that my generation is the dumbest generation that has come around and that they weep for future generations. While this statement is overly generalizing my generation and that there are many exceptions to this, I cannot help but think that they are on to something. If you look at it on a deeper level, the need to become famous has become more important than actually accomplishing something worthwhile that you might get recognition for.
It is this need for fame that has reality shows like The Jersey Shore and Teen Mom on the air. The need to do something outrageous in order to get a TV show deal out of it. My generation has become so obsessed with fame that it is the only thing that they ever want to achieve.
Maybe this film was trying to tell me something, this film was trying to tell me that while my generation has made better strides in terms of acceptance and tolerance towards others, my generation has also taken many steps backwards. The social networking sites out there would not exist if it weren't for this need to be noticed, to be recognized.
This film itself is trying to sen the message that my generation has become the most selfish. narcissistic, callous and entitled generation, which carries the repercussion of being the most isolated, alienated and depressed generation as well.
You might think that it is easy to blame the internet age for this, but the issue is a lot more complicated than it really is.
Mark's actions in the beginning of the film were done out of frustration, loneliness and rejection. In the same way that my generation has started to feel these feelings when someone does not "Facebook" them or "friend" them.
I sincerely believe that if it wasn't for social networking sites, there wouldn't be any reality shows like The Jersey Shore or Teen Mom, or any other of their ilk. Social networking sites in a sense fuel the need for the fame and recognition that so many young people desperately crave without actually being good at something.
For every Mark and Sean there is in this film, there are also an Eduardo and Erica that bring some semblance of humanity and empathy in our fame obsessed culture.
This film is not a criticism of social networking sites or the internet as a whole, but rather a wake up call to the youth of the world. This film is a reflection of what our generation has become if we do not take the time to examine ourselves and rearrange our priorities.