My review and thoughts on The Social Network

Alright, so on to other things from my previous “serious” posts. I finally rented The Social Network yesterday (on DVD no less. They were out of Blu-Rays. How passĂ©). It was kind of a hard movie to get hold of. It seems a lot of people have been renting it recently.

The movie runs about two hours, but it felt a lot longer, for some reason. It basically tells “the story” of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, and the worlds youngest billionaire. I haven’t read too much about the movie, so i’m not sure to which degree it represents the true story of facebook. In any case, i found myself laughing at times, but on the other hand, feeling very sad for the Mark character. Whether he is a douche in real life.. who knows? A few people maybe. I’m guessing a lot of NDA’s have been signed, people have moved on and so on.

The technology in the movie is fairly accurate. The movie fires off with a bunch of tech-talk with Mark downloading images off Harvard univesity websites, and doing some scripting to grab other images. It felt authentic, and i didn’t see any “in your face”-problems with the stuff that was happening on screen. Mark used a laptop with KDE, which was cool. It wasn’t MovieOS 3.1 or something. He used editors to write code. He talked about Mozilla. Apache. MySQL. It was fun to watch for once; not having to cringe everytime the geek character opens his yapper.

The Mark Zuckerberg in the movie is portrayed as an obsessive, almost manic character. He talks fast, and i can see the thought-patterns forming in his head before he speaks the line. He sort of plays chess with whomever he is talking to, anticipating the underlying meaning (sometimes incorrectly, mostly not) and answering the underlying question, as opposed to the one asked. He is portrayed as verbally humiliating many people with his witty rhetorics. It’s fun to watch. I could somehow relate to the character. I often find discussions boring, and people to be very hypocritical and careful when they are talking. It’s boring to try to decipher what people are actually trying to say. Why can’t we all just say what we mean, instead of what we think the other guy wants to hear? If you want to be a dick, be so to my face, and don’t try to hide behind quick quips and facetious smiles. People see through those, you know?

I found myself out of breath many times, because of the speed at which the Mark character is talking. His mind works like a parallel processor, and it’s fun to watch. His manerisms get him into a lot of trouble with other people, which is kind of the premise of the movie. “Make 500 million friends, but end up with a few enemies in the process too”.

The character portrayed by Justin Timberlake was easily the second best in the movie. He played Sean Parker, co-inventor of Napster and various other internet ventures. Not to be confused with Shawn Fanning, also inventor of Napster, but entirely a different guy. The real life Parker has commented that he is nothing like the character in the movie, and that it is entirely a work of fiction. He does own 7% of Facebook, apparently, so he has been involved, but he commented that he wishes his life was as cool as it was portrayed in the movie. The Parker-character is an obvious comic relief, but also kind of an antagonist, a money-grabbing opportunist, drug user and troublemaker. I still found myself liking the portrayal a lot, and i think more highly of Timberlake having seen this movie. A great role.

All in all, it makes a good point. If you have certain characteristics, you are not easy to approach. You may be the most skilled hacker in the world, but if your people-skills suck, you’ll die alone. Rich, but alone. The question is, do you want to live your dream, or be someone you’re not? Facebook has over 500 million members. What started out as an “exclusive” invite only club, is now a common household name. And at the center of this company, valued at 25 billion dollars, is Mark Zuckerberg. Perhaps a lonely guy with more money than he can ever hope to use. Maybe he has lots of friends, and is nothing like the movie portrays him as? I think he’s the sort of distant guy, who you hear talk about, you see in pictures, but who you never truly know. Kind of the personification of the American, capitalist dream. But still too distant to make out. A modern enigma.

 

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