David Fincher is a man who directs good movies, there’s really no way to argue that fact. The man’s filmography is exemplary and he has crafted some truly extraordinary films. With Fincher behind the camera, you knew The Social Network would be good, and with Aaron Sorkin penning the script, you knew it might even be amazing.
While some may disagree, I feel that to really understand and really ‘get’ the film, you have to be a member of the youth in society, plain and simple. High school, university, etc. People from these demographics will be hit hardest and connect most with the film, no doubt.
The film starts off with a brilliant mini-masterpiece of an opening scene. From the moment Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) opens his mouth he has your attention. As he starts spitting out dialogue at near light speed from his mouth, we instantly get an idea of who Mark Zuckerberg is. If you aren’t instantly pulled in right off the bat then I’d seriously question if you’re even human.
When we first see Zuckerberg, he’s at a campus bar, circa 2003. He’s having a drink with his girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara, the actress who won the much sought after prize of the lead role in Fincher’s next film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). In the breathtaking opening, words and insults fly out at breakneck speed. Mark is having a fight with his girlfriend. The brilliant five minute opening plays out like a sparring match of dialogue where words fly across the screen rapidly as Erica and Mark trade insults. Mark, condescending and snobby, clearly has no social skills. His people skills are non-existent and how he even found a girlfriend in the first place is beyond me (although the character of Erica is reportedly fictional).
Clearly not knowing how to treat a girl, Mark continues to insult her which leads her to tell him that they’re finished. She breaks up with him and storms off. Mark is crushed. More so than crushed, he’s furious. He runs back to his college dorm room and with the help of a few beers, starts blogging. His first post begins “Erica Albright is a bitch. . . . For the record, she may look like a 34D, but she’s getting all kinds of help from our friends at Victoria’s Secret. She’s a 34B, as in barely anything there.”
One thing leads to another and after a few more beers, Mark continues to vent his anger through blog posts on the internet. He then moves his anger from just towards Erica, towards all girls. He blogs about an idea he has, for a site that compares girls to farm animals. By this point Mark is surrounded by his roommates and together they evolve the idea. They decide to make a website that simply compares two girls. People can view pictures of the girls side by side and they can vote on who is better looking. Within hours Mark has hacked into the databases of the various residence halls, downloaded pictures and names and put up the site, FaceMash.
It spreads like wildfire and that night, the site manages to become big enough to crash Harvard’s network. As expected, Mark is punished, the site is taken down and Mark now has a lot of people mad at him.
Not everybody is upset though. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer, with the help of Josh Pence) or the Winklevii as Mark refers to them, are twins at Harvard who represent everything that Mark isn’t. Athletic, rich, popular, born into a prestigious family etc. Along with their business partner Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), they are eagerly looking for a computer programmer to help code their new website, Harvard Connection. Mark seems like the perfect candidate and so they approach him. Mark signs on almost instantly and the four of them begin to work on Harvard Connection.
Weeks pass and Mark grows more and more distant from the Winklevoss twins and Divya. Mark continuously tells them he’s busy or he has prior commitments and can not find time to work on Harvard Connection. The twins and Divya get upset and start to get suspicious of Mark. They wonder what he’s really up to and where his loyalty really lies.
Meanwhile, Mark approaches his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) with an idea for a website called ‘The Facebook’, an idea that is all too similar to the Winklevoss’ idea for Harvard Connection, a fact not known to Eduardo. With the help of Eduardo’s money, Mark starts up ‘The Facebook’ and the ball gets rolling.
The Social Network is a film that needed a great Blu-Ray package to accompany it. Luckily, Sony understood this and didn’t let fans down. It’s a Blu-Ray package that is as satisfying as the film itself. The Blu-Ray captures Fincher’s digitally shot film wonderfully. The film carries a stylish look that comes off perfectly on the Blu-Ray disc. Superb detail is found in every shot and black levels are fantastic.
Things are just as good on the audio side. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score sounds phenomenal on the disc and the snappy dialogue is spit out of your speakers with clarity and precision. There is great ambiance sounds in the outdoor scenes and the bass is handled with perfection. Overall, it all amounts to a pretty engaging audio track.
When it comes to the special features, we get the following.
- Audio Commentary: Director David Fincher
- Audio Commentary: Writer Aaron Sorkin and the Cast — including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Josh Pence
- How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? (1080p, 1:32:43)
- Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals (1080p, 7:48)
- Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, and Ren Klyce on Post (1080p, 17:24)
- Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and David Fincher on the Score (1080p, 18:55)
- In the Hall of the Mountain King: Music Exploration (1080p)
- Swarmatron (1080p, 4:28)
- Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown (1080p)
The Social Network comes with a wealth of special features that should satisfy even the most die hard fans. The two commentaries found on the first disc are both excellent, and while the second one is more exciting to listen to, they’re both tremendously interesting and offer great insight into the film. The two tracks complement each other and it’s recommended that you listen to both.
Disc two is where all the real bonus material is and it’s quite an impressive offering. First up is a four part documentary (with a play all option), that runs for an hour and a half. This is an incredibly well made documentary that covers all areas of productions. To see Fincher and Sorkin working behind the scenes is a real treat and we are treated to an enormous amount of bonus footage. We get to see rehearsals, the process of using Josh Pence as a body double for the Winklevoss twins, props and costume selection, how they filmed certain shots, insightful thoughts from the cast and crew and so much more. Any fan of the film owes it to themselves to watch this documentary as it is one of the best behind the scenes/making of documentaries I have seen in a while.
Next up are three shorter documentaries, once again focusing on the production. As their titles imply, they focus on the visual style of the film, post production and the score. Like the making of documentary, they are all well done and worth the watch. I’m not sure why they weren’t tacked onto the making of documentary but they compliment it well and you should definitely check them out.
Rounding out the disc are the following, In the Hall of the Mountain King: Music Exploration, Swarmatron and Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown. In The Hall of the Mountain King is a quick feature that looks at the song ‘In The Hall of the Mountain King and its usage in the film. Swarmatron has Mr. Trent Reznor showing off a unique instrument that was crucial in creating the film’s score and finally, the Ruby Skye VIP Room feature is an interactive piece where viewers can view the Ruby Skye VIP Room Scene from various stages, whether it be rehearsals, principal photography etc.
And so that wraps up the special features. An extremely solid collection of bonus materials and after watching them, I have a far greater appreciation for the film. On a technical level alone it’s a grand achievement and watching Sorkin and Fincher craft their masterpiece was a real thrill. For any films fans, of fans of The Social Network, the bonus materials here are a real treat.
To sum things up, if you can’t already tell, I loved the film and I loved the Blu-Ray disc. It’s one of the most impressive offerings I’ve seen in a while and I can’t recommend it enough.
There is never a dull moment in The Social Network. It moves at such a brisk pace that it dares you to keep up with it. Sorkin’s script is flawless and dazzles you with dialogue that is sharp as can be. The writing here is brilliant and it is without a doubt the best script of the year. In an almost mesmerizing fashion, characters spit out the witty and scintillating dialogue, captivating you in every scene. Between the crackling dialogue, the lightning speed pacing and the haunting and hypnotic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, it all comes together to produce a feverish energy that drives the film.
It’s a film that is never less than perfect. It defines a generation just like Network, Rebel Without A Cause and so many films before it did. The storytelling is unparalleled and with precision and flair, Fincher and Sorkin bring us the story of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. A story that serves as both a metaphor and a snapshot, a snapshot of our time and society.
One of the best films of the decade. The Social Network showcases brilliant writing, powerhouse performances and a compelling story.