When news first broke that there was going to be a “Facebook movie” centered around how the social phenomenon was conceived, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. Soon after, Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, Sports Night, The West Wing) was brought in to write an adaptation on Ben Mezrich’s book, I was surprised. Then David Fincher became attached to direct and my head promptly exploded.
David Fincher? As in Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac David Fincher? Why the hell would he be directing this, let alone in the zip code? Like trying to fit a round head in a square box. There was no way this could work. And then the trailer attached above was released, and suddenly no one else could have made this movie. Fincher has always had a proclivity to deal with characters who juxtapose themselves against their backdrop and can see no discernible connection. Se7en features two regular cops up against a killer who has gone beyond all reason and good taste to satisfy his barbaric urges. The narrator in Fight Club seems lost, alone, welling up with anger and frustration at the materialistic world around him with no way to let it out (outside of the occasional honeybee haiku, natch). In hunting the “Zodiac Killer,” our three protagonists in search the depths of their own psyches, finding little clues for the case and many, many bottles of alcohol to fight the failure off. All of these people in desperate need of Facebook.
The trailer starts with a choral version of Radiohead’s self-maligning “Creep,” featuring such mirthful lines as “I want you to notice/When I’m not around/You’re so fucking special/I wish I was special.” Coupled with the song are images from Facebook (we need only a couple photos to realize which site it is, sadly), from people flexing to parties to general day-in-the-life situations. The computer asks the user, “What’s on your mind?” as the cursor moves to start answering that question. We notice some people “like” some of these photos, someone goes from “single” to “in a relationship.”
It’s roughly at this point that it becomes clear that we’re actually watching a preview for a horror movie. The yellow hues and use of sparse lighting are very reminiscent of the scenes from Fight Club in The Narrator’s house on Paper Street buzzing with the “space monkey” members of Project Mayhem. But instead of dead-in-the-eyes alpha males brooding in all-black uniforms and shaved heads, we experience this lighting and mood at Harvard.
These silver-spooned kids, most born into power and influence before they could even use a toilet, are fighting over a website that speaks right to our insecurities and enables us to delve into our deep narcissism. These soon-to-be Masters Of The Universe have given us a vessel in which we can be masters of our own social worlds. Now we have the power to decide who gets to be our friend, and not the other way around. We have a place to vent our frustrations in the hope of having someone else feel the same (and, if we’re lucky, “Like” it as well, bumping it to the main News Feed, and having more people see it). We put up photos of ourselves to show off the great times we’ve had and the people we shared them with, putting a premium of showing every detail as it would not have happened if it was not on the site. There isn’t a girl’s profile picture that doesn’t get a comment about how good that girl looks from another girl, signaling some sort of expected silent reciprocation when they put up a new picture of themselves and need a self-esteem boost.
And while all this is happening–as Rome burns on YouTube while people struggle to be the first to comment on it–all the elite can do is bicker over whose idea it was first. They sit around giant board rooms carved out of mahogany to see who gets to be the overseer of a world centered around people centering around themselves. It’s a horribly twisted fun house mirror that no one seems to realize they’re staring into; a world created to give power to individuals being wrestled over by people who seek to hold power over it. In the end it doesn’t matter who “wins” because we’ve all lost already. They gave us an opportunity to be “so fucking special,” and because of it, now no one is, except on their own Facebook page.
The film comes out October 1st and I cannot possibly be more excited for it. With that said, I have to go whore this post as a link on Facebook and Twitter. Please like it!! :)