Film Reviews


By • Oct 11th, 2010 •

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“Jesse Eisenberg and The Dark Side of the Nerd”

I love to joke about the famous awkwardness of actors Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg just like anybody else does. Both of their careers built upon playing insecure and neurotic to a new heightened level. While many scathe them for bringing too much of the same thing to the table, I’m here to say, If it works, then stick with it…as long as it fits the story. Those who don’t feel that way will be happily surprised with THE SOCIAL NETWORK, which gives Jesse Eisenberg the chance to evolve into a much more ruthless and less sympathetic character, and it might (however early) be the performance of his career.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK brings together two different styles of filmmaking by having an extremely visual director teamed with an extremely loquacious and structure-conscious writer. Go figure, the result is exhilarating. There were many liberties that Aaron Sorkin took with the screenplay that were made public. Sorkin knew, just as any good writer should know, that real people don’t speak in dramatic film structure, but to try and make it an accurate recreation of dialogue and legal disputes would have been a mistake and a bore. He gives Mark Zuckerberg a handful of memorable diatribes that may or may have not defined Zuckerberg at that specific moment, but still defines the person and the events that we have all lived through up until this point. Zuckerberg didn’t make an aggressive move to stop the film, he countered it by giving money to the Newark, New Jersey School system on Opera.

David Fincher, in his second collaboration with the brilliant cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, captures the appropriate moodiness and mechanical quality of the film with little flashiness. I wasn’t the biggest fan of a sequence that’s shot to make the landscapes and people appear as miniatures. It had a surreal quality that on one hand is interesting and new, but at the same time threw me out of the consistency of the pacing and unfolding of the story until that point.

Peter Travers of The Rolling Stone said this was the film that would define my generation. I think that may be going too far. The characters in THE SOCIAL NETWORK are from a very specific elite gene pool that can’t be representative of an entire generation of youths and post graduates, especially in this economy. Most people from my generation are not nearly as motivated as any of these characters, and the story of greed and betrayal is so timeless that It can be enjoyed from many different generations, with the only things separating it being technical advancements.

I was expecting to see more of the cultural impact implemented in the film, as opposed to the story of how it all came to be. But I think by understanding the mindset of the creators, we get to understand the mindset of the users and that was a surprising revelation.

As long as the majority of us can still recognize the absurdity of today’s pop culture, from YOUTUBE TROLLS to TWITTER UPDATES to THE LINDSEY LOHAN CHRONICLES, we’re okay. It’s when we don’t that we should start worrying.

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