While some were waking up on February 6th to anxiously await the 45th annual Super Bowl melee, cinephiles were waking up to find out who won this year's Writers Guild Awards (or so I hope some might). The Writers Guild winners are a major indicator for who will win in the Screenplay categories at the Oscars next month. Well, we have a behemoth in the Adapted Screenplay category and it is Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network, based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. After also naming this film as one of my top ten movies to look forward to coming out on DVD this year, let's take a look.
Since what prompted this article was the win for screenplay, it shouldn't need to be stated but Sorkin has produced a very thrilling and socially conscious script that should appeal to many types of audiences, but lets do that first. His television work on Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Subset Strip are all brilliant pieces of work, but were aimed at very specific demographics and audiences. So its a revelation and a reminder that this man is capable of appealing to a wide age range, broad poltical and social scopes, and senses of humor. He is of course helped by a story that has been well-publicized, but not really because there are certain revelatory moments about the creation of Facebook. The story truly does impact many people, its expansion and consumption of our social conscience is particularly impressive considering the relatively short time that the site has been live.
The Social Network follows the fateful journey that pits Facebook creators Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) in a battle over who is the "real creator" of the social network as its popularity rises. Is it the man who dreamed it, or the man who executed it? It's a debate that is balanced equally leaving it up the audience to decide for themselves after hearing compelling arguements in every way possible. This is primarily aided by the stellar performances by the cast, particularly Eisenberg who nails Zuckerberg's socially inept mannerisms and specific speech pattern (although there is the debate that more than a bit of this performance is thanks to Eisenberg's own stammerings evidenced in interviews). Then there is Garfield in a breakout performance as the conniving Saverin, who is both ruthless about his business but hopelessly overwhelmed by the punches that fate has thrown him. It's no wonder this man has been chosen to play the titular character in the Spiderman reboot. It is also an eloquently shot film that builds suspense even when all that is happening on screen is people typing. Director David Fincher orchestrates the cacophany of voices and opinions with a sure hand.
The DVD contains a decent amount of special features. The best place to start here is audio commentary between Sorkin and Fincher, these are two smart, clever, and concise men who know what they are talking about. There are few ums and awws, and moments of watching the movie here; they want to share what it was like to make this movie, the road bumps and antidotes that shaped their perspectives. This can be followed by the feature length documentary "How Did they Ever Make a Facebook Movie?" which chronicles the entire production process from beginning to end. It's recommended to wait a bit after the movie to see this so you can actually focus on what they are saying rather than become quickly bored with all the excerpts and reiterations of the debates in the film for the purposes of this documentary. Other features include a piece about making the score with Trent Reznor, and visual and shot sequences.
Overall this is an excellent DVD package that suits the movie well, its informative and impactful. Hopefully you check out this movie before the Academy Awards come out, and understand why it will be recognized. Also it'll be fun to wonder when we'll see first see a glimpse of those profiles that have been burned into our retinas. Now it's time to post that this article is complete.