It's a docu–drama about computer programming. It's a morality play, a coming of age story, and a courtroom drama. All of which plays out like a suspenseful psychological thriller.
Is it the best movie of the year? Could be. But it is definitely the most important movie of the year.
Why? Because it is us. It is now. David Fincher's The Social Network holds up a mirror to the youth of the world and tells us to take a good hard look. We shouldn't like what we see.
In Fincher's Facebook opus, we learn that the famous website was basically conceived, in a roundabout way, as revenge from a jilted lover. Should we take this as a surprise? Every technological advancement in history seems to have an impact on people's social skills. I don't need to describe the impact telephones, televisions, and computers have had on society; it's pretty self-explanatory.
Flash forward to the Information Age: the internet, the mobile phone, the iPod; all contributed to a dependence on technology while decreasing human interaction. Eventually, something big had to come from this: the complete and utter downfall of human society as we know it. Well, not exactly. But the creation of a totally virtual world dependent on the PC. This is what we know today as Facebook, a culmination of technological and anti-social development.
Morpheus tried to explain it to us in The Matrix (1999) and The Sims made a game out of it. But Mark Zuckerberg made the game a reality. He turned the aspect of socializing into a real life internet game of swapping stories, pictures, and 'likes'. Why? Because he couldn't do it in person. He couldn't express himself properly face to face with the girl he loved. He had to do it online, albeit in a totally creative way.
And then comes the irony. A social misfit who couldn't face reality created his own virtual reality society, only to have 500 million followers join and turn his creation into the largest social gathering on the planet. That's quite the paradox.
According to The Social Network, the biggest side effect during the creation of Facebook may not have been reduced people skills. It's something more simple. More American.
It's plain old money and greed.
Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is a twisty, talky suspenseful soap opera of backstabbing, lying, cheating, sex, drugs, and status changes. By now everyone pretty much knows what the story centres on: the creation of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg and the two lawsuits he faced. One from Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss for allegedly stealing their idea; and the second from his best friend Eduardo Saverin for screwing him out of the profits.
It is interesting to see that although all these young men want a piece of the Facebook empire, all they really want is the money associated with it. Do they really care about creating something? Or do they just want to be known for creating something? Clearly the latter, and unfortunately most people wouldn't find this all that controversial. Everyone is coming down hard on Zuckerberg for some of the bad choices he made during his rise to fame, but he's no more guilty than everyone else involved in the story, all looking out for number 1 while chasing the almighty dollar.
He may have ticked a bunch of people off along the way, but there's no denying Mr. Zukerberg's genius and passion for his creation. Like a computer programming Mozart. It's not a business to him. It's not even a science. It's art. And he creates with such effortless ease; he clearly sees things his peers cannot.
And it is truly sad to see him by the end of the film, alone and hurt; confused and distraught over the choices he's made. The Social Network as a cautionary tale? Indeed. A modern day Citizen Kane, dare I say? I dare!
Everything is beautifully summed up at the end as the final image we see is of this multi-millionaire CEO trying to make friends with the girl he loves. He may need some work on his social skills, but like most creative people, Mark is just a hopeless romantic.
It's hard to blame someone for the mistakes they've made with their lives when they were 19 years old. Although I'm sure Mark Zukerberg's bank account softens the blow a bit.
Recently, I've made some big mistakes in my personal life. But I ended up alone and in therapy, instead of having a net worth of $23 billion!
But I did get great support from my family and friends through good communication.
And I owe it all to Facebook! :)