Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I recently watched the much talked about movie “The Social network”- a chronicle of founding of Facebook and fictionalized biopic of Mark Zuckerberg, who at the age of 19 launched Facebook from his Harvard University Dorm room in 2004. My curiosity to watch this movie had reached to a crescendo since it had won 3 much anticipated Oscar awards (though “King’s Speech’ clinched the best film award, and even director David Fincher lost the best director award to Mark Hooper of “King’s Speech”). However, one Oscar was one by Aaron Sarokin for best writing & adapted screenplay (Scriptwriter of “Charlie Wilson’s War “and NBC TV series ´The West Wing”). I read that Aaron  is an  alumni of our own Syracuse University and has graduated in Musical Theatre from School of Fine Arts in 1983. His brilliantly written script is based on Ben Mezrich’s fascinating non-fiction book “The Accidental Billionaires”.

The film indeed was quite gripping and a profound watch. However, I was kind of left with the mixed feelings. The “social” part of Social Network appeared ironic and hallow as the film portrays Zuckerberg not as an modern age young  icon who changed the way we communicate today through social media but as a social  dud with little people skills and warmth of friendship. Mark Zuckerberg emerges in the film as quite a self obsessed but sharp nerd who is emotionally clueless and mechanistic. Another fact that struck me that it is not about redefining friendship on the virtual world, it is not really about what inspired  Facebook creator to connect people who are distant, but about the drama behind the venture – how the dynamics of friendship are fractured when big money unfolds its true colour. It was shattering  to see Mark so devoid of basic sentiments of friendship.
The film dramatically depicts  the tumultuous founding of Face book. Mark Zuckerberg is shown here   having  a peculiar kind of attention deficit disorder. It's as though he is constantly sampling the information around him, but not able to focus very long on a human being. He converses in jerks. He is scarily bright, but his emotional focus is his laptop. And when, finally, his girlfriend Erica makes it clear she is leaving him, his laptop is his refuge. Racing back to his dormitory, he uses the Harvard University email system to post a page asking friends to rate college girls by comparing them with barnyard animals. It goes viral, and the system crashes.The film flashes forward, and back again, between Zuckerberg giving pre-trial testimony in lawsuits brought not only by Saverin, but by two patrician Harvard alumni, the Winkelvoss twins, who claim they employed him to develop a comparable site, a kind of Harvard student online networking tool, but he never delivered. The case was later settled, but the courtroom cross-examination provides a handy dramatic tool for Aaron Sorkin, who also makes this film a study of insider/outsider resentment, and class prejudice. As Critic Steve Rhodes calls it “A study of an obsessive genius who is devoid of any loyalty to his friends or co-workers, the movie hits the nail on the head about the dark side of Silicon Valley culture. The movie makes you feel sorry for him more than it motivates you to attempt to achieve his success”.
The fast paced film has a crisp, characteristically superb direction by David Fincher ( of “Seven” and “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” fame) and some real great acting by Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Juckerberg, Justin Timberlake as Napster co-founder Sean Parker and Edward Garfield as a humane and vulnerable facebook  co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Overall the film cleverly shows how Zuckerberg set the path for a new generation of passive individuals bonding through social networking site and how facebook  has become defining change in human interface  brought by web Recommended  for the entire class.

1 comment:

  1. I also saw the film and was quite impressed by the cinematic quality. What was striking was the irony: a person who facilitates 500 million people to make and sustain friends is, in the end, left lonely and friendless. The rise of facebook is allegedly founded on breach of intellectual property rights, as is shown in the court-room drama. A viewer cannot come to any conclusion on that, or atleast I couldn't. I liked Zuckerberg's vision that he waned to create a platform that will give the 'experience of friendship'on the internet. How true! Facebook users do get a feel of that friendship, sharing photos, music, videos, updating status, relationship status etc. Overall a brilliant film about an eccentric genius.