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The Social Network - Blu-ray Movie Review

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The Social Network Movie Review

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5 Stars

Depending on which story you believe, Facebook was either founded outright by a socially inept idiot who, ironically, was looking for a way to improve his own social status. Or, it was stolen without giving recognition (and profits) to those who originated the idea. That’s the central conflict in David Fincher’s The Social Network, a film that looks at the moment at which Facebook, inarguably the most revolutionary social phenomenon of the century, was invented.

Alan Sorkin’s brilliant script (from Ben Mezrich’s book, The Accidental Billionaires) avoids taking a singular point-of-view, instead tracking dual narratives, one that unfolds in the past – as Harvard student, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) refines and launches his social networking experiment – the other in the present where he’s giving a deposition to lawyers representing former partners and developers who claim Zuckerberg stole their ideas.

The “past” part of the story begins in late 2003, when a drunk and love-scorned Zuckerberg hacks into the school’s computer system, steals photos of female students, creates a website that displays the photos side-by-side, and encourages fellow students to vote for which one of the girls is the hottest. He calls the site Facemash, and it’s only a matter of hours before it goes viral across the campus, causing not only an outpouring of cries of misogyny amongst Harvard co-eds, but also a shutdown of the school’s entire computer network.

From the ashes of the disaster is born the framework of Facebook, which we know eventually becomes the social networking home base to more than 500 million Internet users across the world. But the phenomenon didn’t come about without a healthy dose of controversy. A pair of twin crew jocks named Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer) claim that Zuckerberg’s idea for Facebook came from them and that he just beat them to the market with the help of fellow computer genius Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). The Winklevoss’s eventually sue Zuckerberg, forming the “present” side of Sorkin’s story that we see unfold in the law firm deposition room.

At its root, this type of non-linear storytelling is gangly and cumbersome, but Fincher and Sorkin expertly guide us through all aspects of the complex story, where everyone is seemingly right, and everyone is seemingly wrong. Zuckerberg is given due credit for his genius of vision with what he thought social networking could become, and equal attention is paid to the victims who got caught under the wheels of the abrasive entrepreneur’s ride to the top. In the hands of a different filmmaking team, the whole thing could have collapsed like a house of cards.

Despite the ease with which The Social Network flows through its labyrinthine storyline, Fincher is actually stretching out quite a bit from his usual style of filmmaking. The director is best known as the visual stylist behind the rich worlds of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, and Se7en, all of which thrived on full-bodied, gooey atmosphere and innovative camera techniques. But with The Social Network he focuses his camera with an intimate touch on human nature and pointed social commentary … made from Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue that often cuts like a knife. Sorkin is firing without removing his finger from the trigger. Fincher never misses a beat. It’s a beautiful thing to watch these two filmmakers at the top of their games.

Special mention goes to the great work of Eisenberg and Garfield. The fact that Eisenberg is able to craft a sympathetic character out of a genuine piece of asshole is crucial to Fincher’s grand vision.  Eisenberg knows that allowing viewers to hate his Zuckerberg, might very well cause them to turn on the entire film. Even Justin Timberlake turns in a worthy performance as Sean Parker, the smarmy but connected creator of Napster, who Zuckerberg brings on board for his shared vision of the direction the company needs to go.

A fitting score by Nine Inch Nails’s founding member, Trent Reznor rounds out this near masterpiece of filmmaking.  It doesn’t take but a few minutes into the film for us to realize we’re not only watching Fincher’s strongest film to date, but the year’s as well.

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{2jtab: Film Info}

The Social Network Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.
Director
: David Fincher
Writer
: Alan Sorkin
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg; Justin Timberlake; Andrew Garfiled
Genre
: Drama
Tagline: You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies
Memorable Movie Quote: "If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
Not yet Announced.

Synopsis: On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications

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{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Details}

The Social Network - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (2 BDs); BD-Live

This digitally-shot film looks spectacular on this transfer. The 1080p transfer spreads an abundance of dark color as well as it does its themes. Even the brighter moments are effectively captured – even if darker than usual - with a palette full of rich detail and operatic colors. At times, the saturated levels seem a bit too harsh resulting in a few moments of banding, but, mostly, this is a marvelous work that matches its director’s visual skills. Equally as solid is the soundtrack that enhances the dialogue-heavy movie, surrounding it with some fine moments of ambience.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Recognizing the importance (and oscar potential) of this film, the film supports two spectacular commentaries.

  • The first, covering the making of the film, is provided by its director, David Fincher. Interestingly enough, this commentary seems to have been censored by the studio. Maybe they were afraid of Fincher’s wicked tongue, but the bleeping is strange.
  • The second commentary, provide by writer Aaron Sorkin and cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Josh Pence is interesting even if it is a bit stuffed with participants. They wax poetic about Fincher’s style and discuss the typical acting preparations.

Special Features:

This Blu-ray release is divided into two separate discs: one contains the movie and commentaries and the other provides an abundance of special features designed to appease any fan of this movie.  To say Disc Two is loaded just might be the understatement of the year. Complete with a near feature-length ‘Making Of’ documentary, the disc also supports an in-depth look at the instruments that made the unique soundtrack.

The breakdown of special features is as follows:

  • How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? (90 min)
  • A ‘Making Of” documentary broken into four parts:
    • Commencement
    • Boston
    • Los Angeles
    • The Lot
  • Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals (8 min)
  • Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, and Ren Klyce on Post (18 min)
  • Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and David Fincher on the Score (19 min)
  • Swarmatron (4 min)
  • Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King: Music Exploration

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