Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Social Network

Facebook is a marvellous website for millions of users, and has made billions for its founder, but at what cost to integrity?

We watched the movie The Social Network a couple of days ago. It has a wonderful disclaimer at the end saying that it's basically fiction and any connection between real personalities and the dramatised characters is entirely coincidental.   I know this is the normal disclaimer, but it's a bit of a surprise on the end of this movie, which features the creator of Facebook, the creator of Napster and various other people who were involved, and calls them all by name.

All that aside, it's a marvellous movie, and has (West Wing's) Aaron Sorkin's scriptwriting hand all over it, from the opening scene in which Zuckerberg and his girlfriend (she is a fictional character, apparently) have a full-scale debate (at typical Sorkin speed) about their relationship, to the ongoing interruptions to the narrative which tell us what's going to happen further down the track and show the marginally more mature characters trying to deal with the financial wheeling and dealing they've been involved in: everyone's suing Zuckerberg, who just sits there making sarcastic comments and getting everyone's backs further up.

It's an extraordinary achievement to have brought all this together in a dramatised form so soon after the events, and the cast does a great job of presenting a bunch of characters who aren't particularly viewer-sympathetic: Zuckerberg especially.  Jesse Eisenberg makes a marvellous socially inept Facebook founder, and Justin Timberlake is obnoxious as the overweening Sean Parker, the originator of Napster.  It's ironic, that at the end of this movie, the creator of Facebook has so few real friends.

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