By Matthew Milan.
Last May, I quit Facebook, along with 30,000 other people. A friend and I spent a couple of hours throwing up a website called quitfacebookday.com, and three weeks later we found ourselves foisted upon the world as the ringleaders in a plot to bring down Facebook.
I've been Facebook-free for almost four months now, and don't miss it a bit, so when I was asked to write a review of David Fincher's new movie, The Social Network, it was the first time I'd had any thoughts about Facebook in a couple of months.
Sitting down in the theatre before the film, I said a silent prayer in the hope that it wouldn't suck. It didn't. The Social Network is Fincher's most accessible film to date and one of the best films of the year. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire script creates a tension that's rarely seen in film these days. It's a dense story, and the accelerated evolution of the characters is fascinating and disturbing at the same time. As entertainment, it's top-notch.
What the film won't do is give you a deep analysis of the issues around privacy and identity that drive edge cases like me to abandon the world's largest social network. The film is a good story about the individual relationships that helped get Facebook off the ground, but there's no commentary on Facebook as it exists today.
The Facebook story is much longer than the period of early inception on which the film focuses, and quite frankly I think the filmmakers made a good choice in this regard. Simple but deadly sins like greed, wrath, envy and pride are easy for a wide audience to understand, and The Social Network has those in spades. The downside is that Facebook itself is little more than a prop that the characters fight over throughout the course of the film. It's a source of friction, but never an entity in it's own right. We never get to know it.
I loved this film, but it hasn't changed my mind about Facebook. I'm still blissfully disconnected from it.
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