Ian Fastert’s review published on Letterboxd:
Art is all about manipulating your audiences feelings so they feel how you want them to feel at a specific moment. There is a fine balance you need when doing this however, as if you are too heavy handed the audience will figure out they're being manipulated and be pissed off at you, while if you don't give enough of a push than you'll have people feeling indifferent about your art. An emotional reaction is what gets people caring about art and the stronger the emotional reaction the more personal the art becomes to them. That is why we spend hours upon hours defending our favorite films, why we get inspired to become artists, why we get up and scream when a movie excites us.
The Social Network is a fucking snake of a movie that makes you feel like you can be a genius badass like Mark Zuckerberg one moment and then pulls the rug out from underneath you and show you how much of a twat you were for thinking that.
I should explain because Mark Zuckerberg does come off as an asshole the whole film and while that is true it's the way everyone's lines are written by the genius Aaron Sorkin that still makes you think he's cool. He's a snarky genius millionaire who is so successful he doesn't even have to do school work! I wish I could be like that!
But then, as the film goes on...you see the pain behind that persona. You see him as he truly is, and you see him as a human, a human who isn't just a shit head but is CERTAINLY not a standup guy. You see a guy who feels like he's on top of the world be reminded that he's still only a college student. It gives you a big ol' ego trip before shoving you right back down a hole of flaws. It's very similar to Boogie Nights, in terms of structure, yet I think it's better, as the falls in Boogie Nights seem very dramatic, and it feels in service of the story. In The Social Network, the story is really just a vehicle to show these characters and how human they are, and to make you ask what you would have done.
The Social Network has the fast dialogue that I've loved from Steve Jobs back in full force, but this time it's more sobering. Instead of a man who learns about life as he ages, we are given a man who learns OF his age, and the things he just can't change because of that. He's a young adult, of course he's gonna make stupid risky mistakes that'll blow up in his face.
Fincher is also a better director than Boyle, though he has a few odd moments (the choice of music for the kayaking race is...odd.) He knows how to end a film though.
Like, he REALLY knows how to end a film.
The way Fincher uses close ups is fucking stellar, using it only when he really wants a moment to stick. And while there are many moments that he could have used them, his restraint make the times he does focus on an actors pained expression all the more powerful.
The supporting cast here is phenomenal as well. Justin Timberlake is the most perfect douchebag, and I just want to hold Andrew Garfield tight and tell him everything'll be alright. His eyes are so beautiful too like why is he so perfect god
Armie Hammer's voice also makes me nut it's so deep and commanding yeeesh Hot Fuzz may be a gayer movie but this movie made ME more gay
But in the end...yeah! It's excellent, with fantastic characters that make you question your own morals and some fantastically quotable lines, which Aaron Sorkin specializes in. I'll be rewatching this many times, but for now I urge you to see it. It's amazing.
"Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster."