Monday, September 27, 2010

Add as Friend: Social Network Review

I was hesitant that the movie of the Social Network wouldn't be as good as the trailer. I was wrong. The script is hilarious, Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Zuckerberg is uncanny and even Justin Timberlake is hilarious as Sean Parker. As someone who has built an paying career on user generated and social media content and technology, I am of course a ripe audience member for The Social Network and was going to love it even a little bit even if it was pure crap. At the post screening Q&A which included the cast and writer Aaron Sorkin, I was surprised that all of the cast members admited they don't even have facebook profiles despite all the "research" that went into the film. (I was reminded of the executives I work with that don't have facebook profiles who mandate we work with facebook as a means to itself without having any idea how the site operates.) So, essentially, The Social Network is less about Zuckerberg or the founding of facebook but actually a meditation on how the advancement of digital technology has destroyed the classic entertainment industry and narrative as we knew it. A lot of critics are comparing the film to Citizen Kane but since I saw the film last night, I keep thinking about Robert Altman's Nashville. Just like Nashville used the country music industry as a tool to investigate the politics and culture of the 1970's, the Social Network is essentially a documentation of what we've all been up to over the past decade and how the advancement of "technology" is not socializing us, but actually tools for alienation and capitalization. It's a film about the losers and the winners, the rich and the poor and the drifters and the stars in Silicon Valley. And thank god it's all documented as an actual "motion picture" rather than just a fleeting status update.

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