If you spend a lot of time worrying that you don’t spend enough time on Facebook; sitting at your computer unable to take your eyes off an essay and only flicking back to the website for three minutes at a time; then this movie might be the one for you. It’s an accessible way to catch up on all of those hours wasted reading books and going on walks, when you should have been on the web familiarising yourself with every notification, every status update, every ‘Like’ and every photo of someone you don’t know.
The Social Network follows computer genius Mark Zuckerberg, a kind of Peter Parker figure who found his big break not in swinging around New York City, but in creating what is possibly the greatest internet phenomenon ever: Facebook. Zuckerberg faces constant challenges and lawsuits with his idea, not least from the Winklevoss twins who he initially works with, but who later sue him for ‘misinformation’ on the project. Zuckerberg is presented as a fairly unpleasant man, a nerd and also a recluse; he is, in fact, noted to have said on this film: “I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive”. When looked at from this angle, The Social Network is an incredibly substantial idea for a film: a character study of a man who created a socially oriented website, has 500 million friends on said website, but in real life, ironically, has barely a chum in the world. It seems like it will follow a sympathetic, admirable and slightly unlikeable character: a breed of literary creation usually only dreamt up by authors like Patricia Highsmith.
Zuckerberg came up with the notion at Harvard and launched the primitive website from his dorm room. Weird to think; that something that has become a scarily large part of everyday life for 500 million people, was started in what a lot of first years are experiencing now: a room where old beer cans used as ashtrays are literally heavy with cigarette butts, where old orange skins cling to the bottom of waste paper baskets and where blackish grime and bits of indefinable matter stick to an unwashed bowl on your desk. Maybe it’s different at Harvard, but it’s still a fairly novel (if disgusting) notion.
Released in America last week to critical acclaim, it should be on our screens by the end of this one. This is definitely something to look forward to and is also, whether you think it a good or bad thing, unbelievably relevant to students.
Steve Jones, Film Editor
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