Facebook has forever changed the way people socialise, for better or worse. The Social Network (2010), directed by David Fincher, tells the story of Facebook’s humble beginnings – with Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and his college friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) setting up the site, along with notorious entrepreneur Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) to hone the marketing side. The film follows a multi-layered narrative where the auspicious beginnings of the social networking phenomenon are shown, and the development of the business surrounding it, whilst simultaneously showing the later court case where certain stakeholders are challenging Zuckerberg to give them their share of Facebook’s profits.
After watching Gone Girl (2014), I had the suddern urge to re-watch this. I noted in my review of Gone Girl that that film didn’t feel like a ‘Fincher film’ – one where the directorial prowess of David Fincher, and his signature filmmaking style and aesthetic, is present every second of the film. The Social Network is a ‘Fincher film’ by every definition of the term. From the clever and fast paced script by Aaron Sorkin, to the grimy and clinical directing style and cinematography, The Social Network is a very striking film indeed.
It’s the cinematography and visuals of the film that impress me upon every viewing, however. (And the music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but that’s for another post.) The cinematographer of The Social Network is Jeff Cronenweth, who has also worked with David Fincher on Fight Club (1999), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), and Gone Girl. Cronenweth definitely seems to have a signature style when he works with Fincher. In this film, each frame seems to have a slightly greenish-yellow hue, kind of like the way the sky looks before a big storm – reminding the viewer of something that is putrefying or spoiling. The use of light in particular is fantastic and lends a different character to each scene, and every frame seems balanced, if not symmetrical. The visuals look sleek and modern, as if they’ve been coded intentionally to craft something that is satisfying to look upon. The one scene that always blows my mind in terms of cinematography is the rowing race scene, which really has to be seen to be believed – the perfect balance between amazing direction, cinematography, and music.
Every time I watch The Social Network I’m stunned by the excellent script and dialogue, and the awesome visuals. Below is a selection of some of my favourite shots from the film, mixed up in order to avoid spoilers.
Watch the trailer here.
Watch this film at Amazon!