Posts Tagged ‘David Fincher’

The Social Network – A Review

11/10/2010 1 comment

Perhaps a film about coding a website doesn’t sound like the most interesting of premises. Maybe that’s why Aaron Sorkin decided to turn the story of Facebook into a courtroom drama. Smart move, Mr Sorkin. The former West Wing scribe is renowned as one of the best in thebusiness, and The Social Network only serves to enhance his reputation; from the back-and-forth opening scene to the one-line put-downs and witticisms, this script is flawless. So, it’s a good job that a director as talented and intelligent as David Fincher was on board to do it justice.

As an opening paragraph, that may have been a bit gushing, but if there is one film this year that deserves it, it is this one.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg – inventor of Facebook and the youngest billionaire in the world. The story begins in the autumn of 2003, as he creates Facemash, a crude “hotness comparison” website, in retaliation to his recent dumping at the hands of Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). Flash forward four years to two separate depositions in which Zuckerberg is facing lawsuits from his former best friend and CFO Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and three fellow Harvard students Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.

Through the depositions we see expertly crafted flashbacks to what may or may not have happened during the creation and growth of Facebook, as told by the three parties. What Sorkin and Fincher manage to stay away from so admirably is choosing sides – as Sorkin puts it, they chose the Rashomon approach. And it works. None of the characters on offer are particulary likeable, but at different times we manage to feel sympathy and empathy for different people. Everyone is jealous, paranoid or greedy at one time or another, and so we never settle into a pattern of liking any of them.

Despite all the greatness already pointed out, there is one thing missing from this review: David Fincher’s direction. When Zodiac was released in 2007 it set a new bar for Fincher’s work to live up to, directorially speaking, but The Social Network manages to even surpass that. The 48-year-old makes a five-minute blogging scene breathtaking, turns a tracking shot down a bus into a stroke of genius, and makes the Henley Regatta look like the greatest spectacle on earth – thanks, in no small part, to Edvard Grieg’s “In The Hall of the Mountain King”, AKA the Alton Towers theme.


Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) and Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg)


The man is nothing short of a genius. His shot composition and kineticism gives the film an energy that few other directors could. His reunion with cinematographer Jeff Cronenworth, with whom he worked on 1999’s Fight Club, appears to be yet another masterstroke, as every scene has a distinct look, whether it be set in a smoky bar, a soulless, glass-filled deposition room or sun-drenched California.

After all the dust has settled however, The Social Network is the story of an antisocial nerd who creates the social tool that has defined a generation and a decade. It is a remarkable story, and is told in remarkable fashion. When people look back on this decade, The Social Network will be remembered as a piece of work that absolutely captures these times perfectly. It is without a doubt the film of the year, and could be the film of a generation.


This week, I went to the cinema twice

02/10/2010 1 comment

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ben Affleck and posted a trailer for his film The Town. This week, I went to see The Town and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Remember how Gone Baby Gone was full of moral ambiguity and dilemma? Well, so is The Town. The story concerns a gang of bank robbers, headed up by Doug MacRay (Affleck), and their exploits, internal problems and their pursuit by the FBI following the robbery of a bank, managed by Claire (Rebecca Hall). In the midst of it all, Doug ends up developing some inappropriate feelings for Claire, after checking on her to make sure she didn’t have any valuable information to pass to the FBI. Affleck builds on Gone Baby Gone in terms of his directorial style, however the film is unfortunately less interesting; it’s a fairly basic cops and robbers thriller. Despite this, it remains entertaining for its two hour duration, with new developments occurring fairly regularly, even if they aren’t earth-shattering twists. Where Gone Baby Gone showed its strongest hand in its last five minutes, The Town collapses in the last thirty seconds, which leaves a bitter taste. Thankfully, the rest of the film is so solid and full of energy that it still holds up. It really is a cracking movie, if not a classic. It had done well so far at the box-office, taking in $61.5m worldwide from a $37m budget, improving on Gone Baby Gone‘s haul, and showing that as well as making films with integrity and thoughtfulness, Affleck also makes films that people want to see.

As the title of this post suggests, I went to the cinema twice this week. The second time was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future, another film I wrote about recently. Having never seen an old film on the big screen before, this was a new experience, and was well worth my £6. I love this movie, and the big screen only made it better. I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before, laughed at things that hadn’t seemed funny before, and the soundtrack seemed even better than ever. It was, in a word, incredible. I can’t imagine that anyone reading this hasn’t seen Back To The Future before, but if you haven’t, stop whatever you’re doing and watch it now.

As awesome as the two feature films I saw were, the highlight of my trips to the cinema were seeing the trailer for The Social Network twice. David Fincher is by far my favourite director currently working, and has made some of my favourite ever films. When I first heard about this film, it was a strapline news article in Empire magazine, saying “David Fincher signed on to make Facebook movie”. I had no idea what this meant.Maybe it was some sort of social networking mystery, or a Hard Candy-esque story. Nope, it’s just the story of Facebook. Nothing could appeal less to me as a concept, but with Fincher attached I am far too excited, and the trailer only serves to get me so excited that the film cannot live up to my expectations. It will still be the greatest movie of the year though. Here is the trailer, so you can be excited too.

9 Months Late

13/09/2010 4 comments

On December 18th 2009, The Guardian published this list. Overall, I don’t mind the list. Arbitrary, of course, but ultimately it does no harm. However, I had two real problems with it. The first is that Borat is no. 2 on this list. 2! I’ll accept that it was better than Bruno, but was it the second best film the last ten years? Was it really anywhere near the likes of Wall.E, No Country For Old Men or Let The Right One In? I don’t really understand how it could ever be mentioned in the same breath as these sorts of films.

However, that isn’t my main problem. What I really don’t like is that David Fincher’s Zodiac is only rated as the 100th best film of the decade. Now, it may not be my place to decide these things, but that’s why the internet is awesome. For me, Zodiac was the absolute no. 1 best film of the ‘noughties’. It is, at the risk of sounding like a hyperbole machine, flawless. Think about it; not a single bad performance, a compelling story, and a tone that manages to really capture the 1970s and the feel of investigative classics like All The President’s Men and The Parallax View. Not only was it the best film of the decade, but it’s also the crowning achievement of Fincher’s career so far, somehow eclipsing Fight Club and Se7en – not bad efforts in their own right. I just don’t understand how a team of professionals that I genuinely respect and enjoy the work of could rate a masterpiece like Zodiac so lowly. Not only did I love Zodiac, but it also made me go back and read Robert Graysmith’s publishings on the subject of the Zodiac Killer, it made me go back and watch the classics that it drew inspiration from, and it made me re-assess, and finally appreciate, Fight Club. It inspired me, because it is such an incredible piece of work.

In a lot of ways, I feel sorry for the people who don’t like this film. I think it’s a real shame that they can’t appreciate just how incredible it really is. If I had published the original article, Zodiac would have been my no. 1. In fact, for those of you who are interested, this is my top 10 of 2000-2009:

1 – Zodiac (David Fincher)

2 – Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro)

3 – No Country For Old Men (Ethan and Joel Cohen)

4 – Wall.E (Andrew Stanton)

5 – The Bourne Trilogy (Doug Liman, Paul Greengrass)

6 – Let The Right One In (Tomas Alfredson)

7 – Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)

8 – The Prestige (Chris Nolan)

9 – A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)

10 – The Departed (Martin Scorsese)

Perhaps not the most imaginative list, but those are my picks. Anyway, I will now spend my time fast-forwarding from January to the present day.