Sunday, October 24, 2010


The Social Network: A review

I know there's been a lot of chat about The Social Network, but I have to write a review. Before I commence, I need to give a spoiler alert, but I don't think that's necessary since most of you saw it a few weeks ago. I actually got to see it in the theatre, which is a real rarity for me. I live in northern Quebec and, despite living in a town with a fifty-thousand population, the movie theatre does not play any English films. So, I have to wait until I have a conference in Ottawa or Montreal to see a film before DVD. While I was in Montreal, I went to the film alone. I bought my ticket from the machine and took my seat in the dark theatre. We, the audience of strangers, passively watched Hollywood's retelling of the story of the most successful social media site ever. No one talked. We sat and watched.

Watching The Social Network was like watching a five year old pout in the school yard, "It's not fair. This is my jungle gym." Well suck it up Davy; it's time to share. I was expecting Hollywood to show up and demonstrate why they are still the big kid on the playground. I was expecting something innovative, creative, something new. Instead, David Fincher, the same director that brought us the groundbreaking Fight Club, made a dialogue driven, visually unappealing, whine-fest. The Social Network is about two things: copyright and shallow social relationships.

It's actually quite funny that Hollywood's first film about social media is centred around copyright. Social media has had a strong impact on the movie industry and, like the music industry, they refuse to restructure their highly profitable business. They rather complain and litigate. Sound familiar. The copyright theme was transparent and frankly pathetic.

The emphasis on Mark Zuckerburg's social difficulties was an obvious critique of the relationships on Facebook, and social media as a whole. It is the suggestion that all relationships occurring through social media are shallow and not real relationships. However, this is truthfully a ridiculous commentary about social media coming from a passive medium like film. I sat there grinding my teeth, listening to the failed attempt to reproduce Hollywood dialogue from yesteryears, and watching the stranger beside me Facebook a friend about the movie on his phone.

Watch this film, but more importantly, talk about this film on the social network.

1 comment:

  1. I don't see the emphasis of his social difficulties connected to relationships on FB. I think they showed that he really didn't care about the effect of FB on relationships....he wanted members on his site, he wanted to do something no one had ever done before.

    I agree the copyright angle was an 'obvious' angle....doesn't require much imagination to write that as the theme.

    The only 'surprise' is that there was not a neat and tidy Hollywood ending which I appreciated although they didn't flesh that out enough.