"The Social Network"
writers: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)

director: David Fincher

“The Social Network" is a nicely packaged empty shell. Here, I said it. The film upon its first viewing left me at best indifferent - surely the craftsmanship was there: scenes were wonderfully put together, each layer of the film worked by itself, the DP knew how to light a scene, the director made sure there were not empty narrative spaces, the composer felt the drive, most technicians deserved Oscar nominations for their contribution, yet all together was ... well... lame. Trite.

I felt bad since everybody on the planet went bananas over the flick. So I decided to give it a second try. My reaction was the same. My cinema screening companion at first refused to comment, then she said something to the effect that “the film cleverly puts you in the brainless state of mind similar to that which results from hanging out for a while on the net”. An intelligent remark, yet still with a negative vector, I suppose.

My biggest beef with the film was that it seemed to cheapen something that I felt was profound and truly exciting - the hero and the story of his battles. Instead of showing wide and deep dimension of the amazing technological and cultural revolution the film distilled it down to the issue of who among the players was a bigger dickhead.

Call me naive but I refuse to believe that such great thing as Facebook could be achieved by a bozo. A very gifted, even inspired computer science maverick, yet still a bozo. So I looked at some videos of the real Mark Zuckerberg. Surprise, surprise. The film critics rave about the performance of Jessie Eisenberg. I am sorry but any given beat with the real Zuckerberg brings in more zest, light, focus and drive than the entire two hours of the film. The two hours which, granted, due to the superb skills of the filmmakers, fly very quickly. Still the screen rendering of Zuckerber felt inadequate and even offensive to the spirit of the real Zuckerberg. Judging by the material on the net, the film storytellers flattened the character of the hero, flattened his motives, flattened the plot, - all in a very glossy way. (McDonald De Luxe does not make a gourmet meal.)

I felt terrible, not understanding the enthusiasm pouring from film critics I valued and liked. Being on the edge of depression I goggled for “The Social Network negative reviews” and discovered Armond White, a major New York professional film critic. He didn't like the film.
He even championed (causing wide ridicule) “Transformers 2” by Michael Bay, one of my favorite directors. “You may be thinking against the tide but you are not entirely alone.” - I prepped myself. Then I discovered that Mr. White considered my hero Gaspar Noe a fraud and a fake and that he trashed “There will be blood”, to me a true masterpiece.

I was alone again.


  1. Hey Paweł, we agree to disagree: I think that THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a tad more varied and complex in its presentation of Zuckerberg character than you indicated.

    Wanna see *real* bozo? Read this :-)

    By the way, Zadie Smith wrote the absolutely best piece on Facebook and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, I strongly recommend it - excelent writing:

  2. You were alone a year ago with Inglorious Basterds, and now comes again, ech :P
    My little review of TSN:

    Oh, and Armond White is a troll, a famed and well-educated one, but still a troll. He enjoys drawing attention to his stuff so I do what I can do to cut short his journalistic ambitions - I ignore it :) Recommend you do the same :P