"I like to hunt down murderers and put them away." -- Luc Vanier and the Vigilantes, by Pamela Davison
The Social Network is a good film, with a great script, smart pacing, and some terrific acting, especially from Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. A good film, but not a great film. It would have made better television, for we expect less from television than from film.
I have come to the film late in the day because of life changes and travels to places beyond the reach of The Social Network, though not beyond the reach of commentary on the film. From everything I heard and read, this sounded like a film about making an enormous amount of money, which is not a subject that appeals to me. What interested me more was that the film had something to say about betrayal, about the undergraduate moment out of which Facebook was born, and about Zuckerberg’s supposed social ineptness.
Perhaps, I thought, when I got home from my travels and started catching up on some of what I had missed, there would be something poignant about the film, something ironic, something worth the price of admission. What interested me most, and what finally got me to go see it, is that this is a film about a startup, which is something I myself have lived.
There are interesting things to say about what happens to friendship when a business takes off unexpectedly. They are not said in The Social Network. I would like to know what is going on inside the mind of Zuckerberg, of his friend and business partner Eduardo Savarin. Is Zuckerberg jealous of Eduardo’s social success, as is implied? Is he the one who plants the story about Savarin’s cruelty in feeding morsels of chicken to a chicken? We have no way of knowing Zuckerberg well enough to be sure.
Yes, the film is snappy and funny and so manic that it’s a relief to move into the lawyer’s boardroom. What stands out, though, is the shallowness of the film. If that’s what Harvard is like, I would not want to go to Harvard. Though I don’t know Zuckerberg or Savarin very well, I do know what’s going on in the mind of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who moves into Savarin’s spot as Zuckerberg’s business advisor. This knowledge does not add depth to the film.
So what’s to cheer for here? Would anyone have bothered making The Social Network – or praising it – if it weren’t for the fact that Zuckerberg ended up with $26 billion?
We need to move on, see the wave coming, and ride it. (Warning: it may be like a tsunami.)
The assumption in “One Night at the Risiera” that the Risiera killed mainly Jews and the silence about the other victims may just be examples of Morris’s fabled carelessness and the ignorance of her reviewers, in homage to her lyrical cluelessness.
So, do you believe me, or the great Jan Morris? Do you trust me or the woman who says that Toronto is on Lake Superior, that there is a great hatter on a street in Toronto called Spandia, and that Yonge Street runs all the way to the “prairie farmlands”?
Step Four: Your Children's Education
Are you wondering how it will be possible to pay your child’s private school tuition fees -- about $5,000 a year – when you are still educating yourself and you have no job?
Photo: Martine Doyon