Saturday, December 4, 2010

Getting Seriously Social On-Screen

The Social Network       WWW Score: 98%       
Catfish       WWW Score: 91%

Tick, tick, tick…it was a simply a matter of time before social media jumped off your monitor and onto the big screen and it has in spades with two very different films but two of the very best of 2010.
Whether ‘The Social Network’ is a work of fiction or of fact - or likely somewhere in between - director David Fincher has crafted a modern day classic. The tale of the inception of Facebook and its creator Mark Zuckerberg is nothing short of mesmerizing. As he has proven in the past, Fincher is unequalled in his ability to create a story that the viewer inescapably becomes utterly submerged in. Played by Jesse Eisenberg, Zuckerberg is portrayed as a turncoat who is constantly prepared to do whatever serves his best interest - regardless of the consequences. In Zuckerberg’s case, those consequences came in the form of a company valued at some $25 billion dollars. The how he got there is told in such a skilled way and with such superlative performances that you can’t help but both admire and abhor the guy. From Eisenberg to Andrew Garfield (the new Spider Man) to yes, Justin Timberlake - Fincher squeezes the very best out of his cast, largely thanks to a top-shelf screenplay from Aaron Sorkin and Fincher’s legendary 60-80 takes per scene. Fincher’s attention to detail is beyond reproach - his choice of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross to score the film is the kind of thing that sounds bizarre but works at a level that only enhances the experience that much more. Whereas most directors would go whimsical for a lighter scene - Fincher chooses a darker path with the score - and its effectiveness blew me away. Put the Best Picture odds at 1:1 - this baby is golden.

While it also revolves around the Facebook phenomenon, the documentary ‘Catfish’ does so in an even more subversive way. The tale of a man’s quest to uncover the truth about one of his “friends” on Facebook is one of the most engaging and interesting films I’ve seen in recent memory. The question as to why some people choose to hide behind a veil of deception in their “internet lives” is hit head-on in a surprisingly powerful way. What starts as a slow burn finishes with an ending that for me, was nothing short of emotionally moving. So why is it named ‘Catfish’? It’s revealed in the final frames and when it is - you will more than likely be enlightened in a way that is entirely unexpected. Go catch ‘Catfish’ - it’s one of those little films that stays with you long after the credits roll.