Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Social Network: Hype or Buzz?

Unless you're living under a rock, you already know about The Social Network -- David Fincher's latest, based on The Accidental Billionaires, the (fictionalized?) story of Facebook and it's creator Mark Zuckerberg.

The critical reaction to the film has been ecstatic, to say the least, and frankly that's always a cause for concern. Excessive hype almost always hurts a movie, and in this case, the hype machine is in overdrive (although Nathaniel Rogers, a film critic I've read and trusted for many years now, says it's truly "buzz" and not "hype").

Consider the names that have been dropped in the reviews that have surfaced so far: Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Rashomon, All the President's Men, The Graduate, Network... you get the idea? Some reviews have called it the first masterpiece of the 21st century -- never mind the fact that films like Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and In the Mood for Love almost certainly belong in the all-time lists at this point.

While the comparisons to the aforementioned classics may be legitimate, it automatically makes it a tall order for the film to live up to expectations. There's always a good chance that you may end up with a "Huh? That's it" reaction at the end (or that there's a backlash just around the corner -- just wait for the awards season). But since this is a David Fincher movie (almost always great except the last one, which had its moments) -- I'm going to remain excited for this.

I read the book last night, and it was just about ok -- never really penetrating its characters to reveal any thing substantial about them -- but I hope Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have brought their own voice to this project.

A film that defines a generation? My expectations just skyrocketed.