02 October 2010
It's funny to think that Fincher has now done for a social networking webpage what he'd previously done for one of America's most famous serial killers: told its story through a detail-heavy, exposition-rich series of intercutting narratives and charmingly charmless characters. I'm inclined to say it's funny to think that it works, but maybe it's not; maybe of course it works. Either way, it does work.
The trick is really that all the Sorkiny dialogue and cool montages are all set dressing to the real story, which is the complicated friendship between Mark, Eduardo, and interloper Sean. The legal assistant at the end was right: Mark's not an asshole -- though I'm not sure if I'd call it "trying so hard to be" so much as "having a low-level case of Asperger's" -- and he's a difficult character because he's a believably difficult person. He reminds me of an exaggerated version of myself, or of many of my more computer-geeky or engineering-student friends. Actually, he reminds me also of Graysmith from Zodiac, which is maybe telling. I wanted to try and relate these two characters to previous Fincher characters, like maybe John Doe from Seven or the nameless protagonist from Fight Club (maybe the daughter in Panic Room? almost certainly Michael Douglas's modern-day Scrooge in The Game), but it feels a bit like a stretch, and while I suspect there's some of the same DNA in all of these characters, it would take a more in-depth examination than a here-are-my-initial-thoughts-after-seeing-a-film blog to pull that all together. Okay, yes, I'm copping out, totally. It's late and cut me some slack.
Anyway, this was an impressive piece of filmmaking because it tells a complicated story with a lot of seemingly boring details without being a boring story, and it does it in a way that illuminates some tricky, nuanced, challenging characters. I couldn't give a rat's ass about the veracity of this story, because it's a story, and I'd rather have truth about humans than facts about specific people, and The Social Network has that, plenty.
Seen at Pioneer Place's Regal Cinema.