David Fincher is probably the least-known director among mainstream audiences who has delivered some of his generation’s most defining works (Fight Club, Se7en). Hopefully, that’s about to change. His latest film, The Social Network, is not only a continuation of an excellent track record but one that very nearly is perfect in its characterization of our wired-in generation.
The film traces the origins of the social networking site and its founders, namely Mark Zuckerberg (Zombieland’s Jesse Eisenberg) and his best/only friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), in a Harvard campus dorm room. Litigations ensue among several different parties over time, and the narcissistic genius of Zuckerberg has to defend himself and his company as its speedy rise to success excels what anyone thought possible in the pre-digital age.
With Fincher’s finely-tuned subtleties, sensible direction and enigmatic cast filled with unknown and upcoming talent, watching The Social Network is the equivalent to watching a generation in motion. The film transcends the online setting and lines of code that it is essentially based on by crafting an epic social portrayal that completely “gets” our culture. Not just art imitating life, the film embraces the fast paces of our digital culture and unyielding need to translate those tendencies from our daily life to the online platform.
Writer Aaron Sorkin deserves just as much credit for crafting what may be the best script of his career. Every line of dialogue spits off the tongue with a kinetic fervor that seduces the viewer into the highly-enjoyable trance of watching the film through the lenses of some of the best talent in the industry.
It would be easy to label The Social Network as “that Facebook movie,” but that vastly undersells it . . . perhaps in the same way as calling Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane “that newspaper movie.” But through Fincher’s and Sorkin’s adaptation of this genesis, The Social Network transcends itself by making us feel more a part of the on-screen world than any 3D film ever could and, ultimately, may be the most socially-relevant film in decades.