Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Social Network and the necessity of truth

The Social Network is a terrific film. Its a film about the quest for power, and the corruption inherent in it. Its beauty is in its refusal to assign motivations. Other than its final shot, which seemed a little too simple to me, it never allows you to guess exactly what Mark Zuckerberg's motivations are, and merely provides potential answers. His actions seem confusing and contradictory, and thats the inherent beauty in it. The writing is, as you might expect, splendid, seeing as it is Aaron Sorkin doing the work. It is definitely a film one should see.

There has been, however, some controversy over pasts of the film. Elements, at least, are supposedly complete works of fiction. This can bother some, but it really should only bother you if you are looking for something that the film is not. The Social Network is not a documentary, it is a film based on a real life story, and as such isn't trying to give an insight into the real life Mark Zuckerberg, but rather the fictional one the film creates. No doubt there are similarities there, but one cannot really inform the other. The important question to ask is whether the character they create is fascinating, and that is certainly the case.

I can see why one might be off put by a documentary that deliberately misleads, because there is a sense of betrayal there, and perhaps certain film goers are leaving the Social Network thinking that they've learnt something about the creation of Facebook. They have, but probably not what they think they have. Citizen Kane is no less interesting for being a work of fiction, and neither is this.

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