The Social Network

Having heard much hype about this hot movie, I was excited walking home with the DVD. I was expecting some kind of thriller, or brilliant mastermind that somehow incorporates Facebook or any of the growing social networks out there. 

The first 20 minutes or so showed great potential and I was actually about to conclude that it is indeed a great movie. The conversation at the very beginning between Mark and Erica contained hints of intelligence in both of them. Mark was portrayed as a ‘nerd’ (the good kind) with quick-minded replies (and the stereotypical socially awkward dude) right from the beginning. It impressed me at how efficient and successful the character was set up. What’s more impressive about the opening hook is the (rather) surprising reveal that Mark and Erica were dating. It made me laugh a bit: reminds me of a “smart” and unexpected couple in high school that people would always label “too nerdy to date”.

Then the scene where Mark took revenge on Erica began with fast-paced and skillful demonstration of computer programming. Within hours he was able to shut down the Harvard computer system. Impressive? Indeed. 

That huge, brilliant and attention-grabbing showcase gave me some expectations of the movie. I expected some mind-twisting, complicated “battle” between the protagonist (Mark and Eduardo) and the antagonists (the Winklevoss), leading up to the climax where they have to use their powerful minds to beat each other. 

However, the movie went into story-telling mood, with some noticeable effort to non-linearize the plotline by having flashbacks and alternating narration and character branch. In the end it was simply the telling of a true story, introducing the legal and “bromantic” aspects of the plot everybody wants to know about. 

The storyboard is fantastic, nevertheless. The talent of taking unadorned, merely simple and true events and stringing them into consecutive and intriguing storyline is undeniable. The movie made us believe and interested in things that if told by Mark Zuckerberg or Sean Parker, or any of the people involved, would be rather long and boring to us. The movie makers did a decent job there, but it is just not epic enough.

Perhaps I was expecting something else from the movie. The word “social” makes me think of some tangled and complicated connection chain, but it turns out, the movie is another the story of greedy people.

It is a worthwhile watch. I would prefer something “smarter” than that though.

As a final note, I would like to mention my favorite quote of the movie: “Harvard undergraduates believe that inventing a job is better than finding a job.”

But who says only Harvard students think so?