Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Company: Columbia Pictures
Runtime: 120 minutes
The film is about Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard undergrad who created the social networking site Facebook.
It all started as Facemash, a polling site where Harvard students can vote between two ladies, depending on who they think is hotter. The spark that it caused in the administration caught the interest of the Winkevoss twins, also Harvard undergrads, who are planning to create their own social networking site, the Harvard Connections. They hired Zuckerberg to crate the site for them.
At the same time that he started to lose contact with the twins, Zuckerberg also started creating his own social networking site, TheFacebook. He did this with the help of his best friend, Eduardo Saverin. In the process of the expansion of the website, young net entrepreneur Sean Parker rides with them to further improve and propagate the website to more campuses. One of those changes is turning the website’s name to simply, ‘Facebook.’ Misunderstandings ensued as Facebook became bigger, causing Eduardo and Mark to break their friendship.
The events are told through the inter-weaved disposition scenes of Mark’s two lawsuits against the Winklevoss twins and against Eduardo.
This is a very intelligent film.
The direction… what could you say? It has a very interesting, though very technical subject matter, but the initial thought that I have is that it might fail in executing the story if it will just do things like in a good old-fashioned biopic style, though there’s nothing bad at it. It created a dynamic perspective on the story without letting go of the fact that it still has a straight path that it follows. It never sways on actually involving us in this story that might have been uninvolving. There is this big amount of precision int he scenes, on the way they were executed, but it did not even feel like it’s over-controlling, or let’s say, overdirected – far from that. The modern feel is also a plus, because it suits the story so much.
The screenplay is one of the best, ever. There is huge amount of skill in the dialogue. Right form the star, you can sense the over-all brilliance of it in creating the characters through the litlle and subtle shadings in the lines. And even if many lines are combated with speedy delivery, it did not tire my ears in trying to understand every word that the actors were saying because there is sense in what they are talking about. And the dialogue is of high intelligence, but it never felt unrealistic. And what’s the first scene that you remember when you think about the genius of the screenplay? The opening scene! Right from the start, it already blasts the screen with overwhelming knowledge and skill it has in creating the character background of the two people talking. And who can forget the disposition scenes? The camera is just still in its position in these scenes, but there is this very big tension because of the deft use and flow of words in the scenes. But it’s not just contained in those scenes. The power of the screenplay is evenly spread throughout the entire course of the film.
The editing brings some of the crispiest cuts this year. There is so much energy in the way the scenes are all glued into one continuous flow of dialogue and images that strikes me as easily memorable. With sturdy direction and nimble screenplay, what you need to compose this two into this synchronized success is clever editing of the scenes. There are moments in the film where there is simply series of images overlapped by sharp lines from the screenplay and unsettling music, and the editing simply composes all of these elements into this telling of events done in a simple yet powerful fashion. But the parts where you can actually see the editing work, but not showing off in any way, are the disposition scenes when in some parts, the two cases go in a crisscross fashion. It’s a very complicated task to compress these two cases and make them interesting, and at the same time, entertaining. Or those simple scenes of dialogue – the editing propels each line to the next one without ever becoming exhausting to the senses.
The sound provides a very smooth blend between the aural elements of the movie. The way they type on the keyboard, the sound that the keyboard makes, there is rhythm in it. It’s not just sounds of people typing; there is this fine passage and beat in the way the keyboard sounded. Another example is the club scene – the music is so loud, but you can still hear the dialogue clear enough, but you can also experience the blast of music, but the lines are still so clear – it’s great sound work to cut things short. The importance of sound in creating the story in the film is that it created this air of being in the scenario. It’s different from the music creates, but there is harmony in the sounds. In every noise that you hear, there is a feeling of place. You know it’s not accidentally recorded; even the faintest sound from the movie added enough dimensions to make the story as real as possible.
If the sounds had harmony, the music filled the movie with emotional energy and atmospheric immersion.
What emotional energy? The music provoked the artistic wedding of the imagery and the psychological core of the story. There is the ‘youth’ feel in the music, but there is also this maturity that you get to experience only from the youth, and while the images strongly deliver it, the music hinges the effect of the scenes to bring it to a higher power of cinematic triumph. It was very particular in what it was trying to say, but the end product of the music is something words cannot express. The craft employed in the pieces of music used in the film provided the glimpse of the vast knowledge and understanding on the subject matter.
What atmospheric immersion? Right from the start, from the already-classic musical piece “Hand Covers Bruise”, as it plays over scenes of Mark while going back to his dormitory, the music already empowers the sequence with much more sense of tangibility and specificity in environment. It captures the air that breezes in every scene with a suitable and powerhouse soundtrack.
The costume design is so subtle yet so great. It defined these characters easily by the costumes – from Mark’s sweatshirt to Eduardo’s coat and polo to Sean’s shirt and jacket to Erica’s complete outfit. The production design, as subtle as the costume design, proves to be a visceral element in setting up the world located inside the soul of Facebook through the eyes of these characters. Everything goes in place to provide an impeccably designed world with so much complexities beneath each thing and each attire that we see in the film.
The ensemble in this film is composed by the actors who gave some of the best performances of the year.
Jesse Eisenberg is completely fantastico in the lead role that fits him so well, it’s almost unnoticeable acting. He definitely inhibits the character with such ease and timing, and even if you know Eisenberg shows his acting tics, it all worked for is performance. It’s a faultless performance that only a specific actor can play with almost no flaws. As I have said, Eisenberg is an actor with what you call these ‘acting tics’, these bits in a performance where you can feel a moment of beat or pulse from him. And it’s quite distracting to see actors having that, but not if it fits the role. Those tics defined Eisenberg’s unpredictably calculated, and it’s a compliment for me. Those golden line deliveries, those look in his eyes that are not seen from him before, the cold sensitivity that he brings to the table – Eisenberg is flawless.
In par with the high excellence of the previous performance is Andrew Garfield’s creation of Eduardo Saverin. In contrast to Eisenberg’s seamless calculation is Garfield’s careful observation of his character’s totality. There is this certain amount of amorousness strongly suggested beneath and on the surface of this character, and Garfield does it with full justice. Moreover, he takes it all to a higher degree of delicacy in terms of emotional content. There is no single moment where he faltered in the execution of what could have been a role so easy to be taken for granted by someone without the knowledge on channeling an emotionally complex role, but Garfield definitely earns his every second in the movie because he never lets you down in pulling to the core of his soul. And that is something only a capable actor can do. And with that, Garfield surely is one.
Another performance worthy of praise is Rooney Mara in a three-scene performance as Erica Albright, Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend. Disregarding the small time that she had in this film, it’s a stirring glimpse in a woman’s life. Mara nails every bit of her presence in the film with her honest exploration of this fascinating, if fictional, character while fully embracing the film’s intricately stylized screenplay. Her role could have been small in terms of quantity, but ht impact and the impression that she left in the rest of the film is undeniable great.
The rest of the cast did great, too.
Justin Timberlake is effective the slyly evil Sean Parker. You know that he’s cool and easy-easy in his life, and he manages to do it. He’s not someone I anticipate would do good as an actor, but he just gets the arc of the character so well.
Armie Hammer is good as the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. He’s the hardest to judge because I don’t know if I will still recognize his good acting when he is just used in face replacement, but rest assured, he completely managed to define the two characters in a very effective way.
Brenda Song, Douglas Urbanski, Rashida Jones, Denise Grayson, and definitely more – all of these actors created this world filled with cynicism covered with formality and glamor. Each actor created something unique, something different, something remarkable.
And all of these elements came to this fascinating examination of a multi-dimensional story that could have been so boring in paper but with all of these coming together in one synchronized and dynamic assembly of cinematic facets all in place with a common denominator – excellence.
For this, the movie gets:
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or not?