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"The Social Network" Blu-ray Review

A favorite of mine as David Fincher's 2010 mythologized telling of the invention of Facebook (which I call FaceSpace) simply crackles from Aaron Sorkin's Oscar-winning adapted screenplay (I still want to know if the mic-drop, engrave the trophy line, "If your clients had invented Facebook, they would've invented Facebook." was an actual deposition quote or a brilliant invention), plus Oscar-winning editing and score, the latter by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who most recently scored Pixar's Soul. In retropect, that it lost for Best Picture and Direction to the forgotten Oscar-bait historical biopic The King's Speech is just another in a long list of shameful Academy missteps.

It's interesting revisiting The Social Network now because it came out only six years after FaceSpace's founding and it was still somewhat of a scrappy little upstart. As the closing text informs us, it was worth $25 billion, which seems like a heck of a lot of money until you realize that as if this writing its market cap is $782 billion. They've also swelled from about 600 million users - as the brilliant tagline said, "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies." - to about 2.6 BILLION users, with over 1.7B of them visiting the site daily.                                                 

What the movie doesn't even hint at what would become of the social network as it became a Big Tech monopoly power fueled by billions of dopamine-addicted, affirmation-craving users who would rely on it and their closed circles of like-minded "friends" for their information (and misinformation) and how to feel about it. The movie focuses on the money being made, but not what the site actually did. 

As we saw during the lockdowns from Hot Fad Plague 2020 (which left people with little to do but tribe up and fight each other) and the run-up to the 2020 Elections (and the ensuing Big Tech censorship crackdown that occurred once Democrats had seized total control of the Federal government), Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Apple's Tim Cook, Google Sundar Pichai, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos, comprising a small cabal of oligarchs in total control of the platforms, what information is allowed to be spread, throttling or outright deplatforming "wrongthought", would convert what may've been intended as a means for freedom of speech and a way to facilitate associations into a censorious police state where the end game may be their acting as an intelligence-gathering arm of government. (Sounds paranoid, but when truthful news is blocked and speaking facts that the Big Tech bosses don't like gets you unpersoned, how much of a stretch is it to find a "national security" pretense to see who's posting "anti-government" speech? Exactly.)

On the technical side, the transfer is clean since it's digitally sourced from RED camera. Fincher likes flat contrast, short lighting (where the light comes from behind the subjects), and drab colors, so there's little flash to look at. On the audio side though, the superiority of physical media over streaming is displayed by a booming DTS-HD soundtrack which really puts the boom in the room from the musical score. (Streaming is bitrate-limited Dolby Digital+ at best.) The opening scene in the bar is concerning as the dialog has to fight the environmental sound, but that's a (dubious) artistic choice as the rest of the movie is clearly understandable. 

Another plus for physical is the Blu-ray set comes with a raft of extras. I haven't listened to the two commentary tracks, one my Fincher and the other by Sorkin with the cast, but there's an entire second disc including a hour-and-a-half documentary making-of plus several other craft-specific featurettes which I've watched in the past and recall are quite informative. (I miss bunches of extras, another casualty of the shift to streaming for everything.)

While there are substantial fictionalizations in the telling of The Social Network, it's still truthful enough and most importantly entertaining enough to merit watching and collecting. The irony is that there's no way a movie like this which even cast the least bit of shade on oligarchs like Zuckerberg could be made today. Worth over $100 billion, he now has the power to topple a President and ban him from his site, so who would be able to portray him as a mildly sociopathic jerk of a nerd? Exactly.

Score: 9/10. Buy it. 


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