Monday, April 04, 2011

Random Film Review: The Social Network

Dir: David Fincher | USA | 2010 | 120mins

I'm not a huge Facebook user. I have an account but only check it about once a month, mainly to see who's deleted me; I tend to lose more friends than gain them (notice they're all bells and whistles when you hook up with a friend but when you lose one they're strangely silent). Mainly, though, I guess I'm not that interested in what other people have been up to; I'm not that bothered about seeing pictures of their drunken Friday night out/holiday/newborn baby or knowing what they've eaten for breakfast or music they've listened to. I find it all a bit frivolous. And I'm probably too self-centred to be that interested in others.

The concept of friends on Facebook is a loose one. I have Facebook friends who have hundreds of 'friends' on there; yet haven't actually met some of them, and wouldn't be able to call most of them up for a drink or count any of them as close friends. Another Facebook friend, an ex-colleague, is friends on Facebook with a mutual ex-boss who used to bully her at work and made her cry on occasion. I asked her why she accepted her friend invite. 'It would be rude not to' was her reply. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Facebook is like one of those dreams where friends and family from throughout your life are together in one room, chatting away like they all know each other but it's impossible, not natural and a bit creepy. I know, it's hardly worth criticising Facebook. It's become so ingrained in modern life… it would be like criticising air or email or texting (though I just might do that too).

Oh yes, anyway, the film. It came out last year to rave reviews, topped many end of year charts and won loads of awards. I didn't rush out to see it because I had a sneaking suspicion that a two-hour film about a website (a cinematic non sequitur) based around deposition hearings for two lawsuits concerning ownership and copyright for Facebook (also a cinematic non sequitur), with characters we neither like nor care about and a plot where we know the outcome before the film's started sounded a very boring proposition indeed. You know what? I was absolutely right.

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