Movie versus Film -or why The Social Network shouldn’t win.
Movie vs. Film – The Social Network
Last summer, I read The Social Network’s script and simply LOVED it. Couldn’t stop. When I learned Fincher was the Director I was ecstatic. I even went to the THEATER [crazy me] to watch it and it was–
I liked it.
But, to quote Carson Reeves ‘I wasn’t taken into the world as much as I wanted to be.’
The thing with The Social Network is that the script is so tight it’s difficult to see how a director with experience could fail. Add to that the subject matter : how did the youngest billionaire in the world [who happens to be American]…became the youngest billionaire in the world? And you pretty much have a no brainer.
Suuuuure it sounds easy to say it NOW since everybody is claiming it’s the best-film-of-the-decade-of-the-world-of-the-universe, but that’s exactly my point: I don’t think The Social Network is the-best-FILM-of-the-world-of-the-universe-of-the-galaxy-from-here-to-there-and-even-more.
And yes, the reason why I wrote FILM in capital letters is because we are talking about a film here. Not just a great story with great dialogs. But a film as a whole. Remember all the books you’ve read and the classes you took where they kept saying that your characters have to be active and do something? Think about The Social Network: it’s all about dudes sitting and TELLING the story. Which is fine because they do it so well, but visually speaking, it would have worked fine on stage. [total scandal ! Let’s stop reading this article !]
Let’s take a look at three other [serious] contenders : 127 hours, Black Swan and King’s Speech. What I found very interesting with these three movies is that they are making such a great use and demonstration of how powerful a movie can be.
Because they each manage to mix in great ways the multiple ingredients you can use to make a film. Yes, a good film needs a great story as a skeleton, but there are so many layers that can be added to that : the editing, the sounds, the shots. And when all these elements are integrated, no other medium can compete.
If you watch again the first minute of each one of them, you’ll notice how they all take a stand for a style from second one:
127 Hours emphasizes the power of editing.
The King’s Speech, the power of framing.
Black Swan, the power of sound editing.
The Social Network, the power of dialogs.
W recently published a detailed article about David Fincher. What I read just confirmed my sensation when watching The Social Network:
‘Fincher divides his work between “movies” and “films”—by his definition, a movie is overtly commercial, engineered for the sole pleasure of the audience. A film is conceived for the public and filmmakers: It is more audacious, more daring. By his reckoning, Fight Club and, especially, Zodiac (neither of which were box office successes) are films, while The Social Network (which is a box office smash—close to $100 million in America alone) is simply a movie.’
I am still surprised by the passion The Social Network has triggered. Even more so since we all know that the motivation given to Zuckerberg by Sorkin is completely random and happens to be wrong. I actually find it fascinating that while facts are accurate, their justification is totally untrue and everybody is cool with it.
A certain uneasiness comes to me as well from the strong feeling that a lot of people love smelled too much like a relieved sigh: ‘Hoooo, so now I understand what Facebook is!’ Do you? Really?
The Social Network is classic, it narrows down the whole story to friends, betrayal, money and power, and there’s nothing wrong about it. It could have been made by Sidney Lumet. It’s a good subject and a strong movie. But at the end of the day, if you close your eyes, what do you FEEL when you think about The Social Network ?
Despite my profound love, admiration and respect for David Fincher, this great filmmaker shouldn’t receive such consecration for one of his movie but for one of his film.
Especially a year where so many FILMS are in competition.