Friday, September 24, 2010

The Social Network

Next month two movies which I've been really looking forward to will finally be released. The first is Oliver Stone's sequel to the 80s classic, Wall Street. The movie, set at the beginning of the current financial crisis, sees the return of the most dynamic wheeler-dealer in cinematic history, Gordon Gecko, played once-again by Michael Douglas.

The second movie, however, I thought was a dumb idea for a movie when I first heard about it; a movie based on Facebook founder Mark "I'm CEO bitch!" Zuckerberg. I was told it was going to be thriller and couldn't help wondering how thrilling it could possibly be? And all I could think of was that the movie was clearly a shameless cash-in.

Then I heard who was going to direct it.

David Fincher is a former music video director who moved into the world of movies with Alien 3. Though, by his own admission, the movie is a failure (Fox micromanaged the whole project to death long before Fincher had even signed on) it's still a damn sight better than its successors and helped him land his second movie, Se7en. Like Alien 3, Se7en immersed its audience in a dark, murky, sepia-toned nightmare. His most popular movie to date, Fight Club, retained many of those trademarks; the hazy, yellowy industrial grunge and acid-burn exposures that characterised the Fight Club world. Then, in sharp contrast with that, was the Corporate World; searing Xerox scan lights and blinding fluorescents, bland white cubicles filled with bland white people, styrofoam coffee cups and Ikea-styled iconography. The movie would have been a pretty cool movie based on its storyline alone, but in the hands of Fincher, it became one of the masterpiece movies of the 90s and a true piece of visual art.

So what's he going to do with Facebook? Well, Facebook the website, of course, has its very own distinctive look and feel; clinical white shiny surfaces offset by lines of neon blue. (The blue, apparently, because Zuckerberg's colourblind and blue's the colour he sees clearest.)

The idea that got me excited about the movie was when I put Fincher and Facebook together in my mind I envisioned something akin to the Fight Club Ikea sequence with Facebook buttons and widgets. From the look of the trailer and promotional videos, it looks like this is precisely what Fincher has done.

Fight Club's relentless pace and the raw and edgy editing style, cutting back and forth between the jaded, insomniac Corporate World and the visceral, blood and testosterone world of Fight Club, may never have worked, however, without the erratic sonic sculptures of the Dust Brothers who provided one of my favourite soundtracks to any movie and the perfect aural accompaniment to Fight Club.

For The Social Network Fincher is reunited with one of his former music video clients, none other than Trent Reznor a.k.a. Nine Inch Nails as well as NIN collaborator and producer Atticus Ross. Ross has recently worked on yet another excellent soundtrack, to the post-apocalyptic badass-evangelist movie The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington.

I signed up to the NIN newsletter some time back and so was recently informed of a free downloadable "Sampler" containing a few tracks from the upcoming soundtrack.

If the music from the sampler is anything to go by this movie, much like other Fincher movies, is going to be pretty dark. It sounds very much like the aforementioned Book of Eli soundtrack, as well as other NIN works like those from the Ghosts series or some of the instrumental pieces from The Fragile.

Among the central themes of Reznor's entire body of work is that of "technology in decay" and that of loosing one's humanity to "the machine." Themes which are in stark contrast to experimental abstraction of British electronica or the shining futurists of Detroit techno. For that reason I can think Reznor is the ideal candidate to follow in the Dust Brothers' footsteps.

Together, I'm certain, Fincher, Reznor and Ross are going to detonate a sensory depth charge deep inside our minds. Whether or not the story is up to scratch I cannot say, though the trailers certainly make it look compelling.

I understand it to be a paranoid techno-thriller about treachery and corporate greed. The story of how one, cocky, scrawny little geek became the world's youngest billionaire by stabbing his friends in the back and exposing all our private lives to global scrutiny. That's about the gist of it as far as I can tell, well it's certainly not going to be a "horray for Zuckerberg" plot. That message is conveyed immediately on watching the trailer, where a choir of children sing a cover version of Radiohead's "Creep" over a montage of Facebook profile activity.

In fact, one gets the distinct impression that even with the despicable corporate marauder Gordon Gecko coming out of retirement, Oliver Stone's iconic character won't receive a fraction of the ire Zuckerberg will when both movies hit the screens.

As to whether this movie is going to be better than Fight Club? No I don't think so. I don't imagine The Social Network being better than Fight Club any more than I can imagine "Zuck" beating up Tyler Durden. Still can't wait to watch it though.

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5 comments:

Server Hosting said...

It is really impressive trailer of The social Networking. I think Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall really putted much effort to create this official trailer.

zidiniai said...

Great Movie. I was a big sad that it didn't get any main Oscars, but Kings Speech worth it, of course.

St Lucia said...

styrofoam coffee cups and Ikea-styled iconography. The movie would have been a pretty cool movie based on its storyline alone, but in the hands of Fincher, it became one of the masterpiece movies of the 90s and a true piece of visual art.

Boston Flyer said...

I liked the Social Network, it wasn't all that thrilling (I definitely wouldn't say it was a thriller) but it was a pretty smart movie with a decent script and good acting.

Data recovery said...

In my top 5 of the year. Goddamnit 2010 was an incredible year in film. True Grit, Black Swan, Toy Story 3, Shutter Island, Inception, The Social Network. WOW!!! Next to Black Swan, True Grit, Toy Stoy 3 and Inception, this was the best of the year. David Fincher is awesome.