6 April 2012 | tim-764-291856
The Social Network...
Before I set to record this film, that was shown on Film 4 last night, I presumed it'd be a trite U.S. comedy/horror, full of gross-out and stoned slackers.
How pleasantly surprised I was to find it to be a deep, unpredictable British psychological thriller that's high on design and imagination. Yes, the actors look like they've escaped off sets of U.K teen dramas such as Skins, but they are playing characters that that market already caters for.
It's quite neat how the protagonist, Aaron Johnson, (Will) is accessing the chat-room in question via his PC or smartphone but is also then seen within it. As we soon get to know, Will's psychological make-up and difficulties are complex and largely unexplained. Is the chat-room itself purely in his mind and is the labyrinth of other rooms that we see at the start also only in his imagination? If so, that's quite a neat way of adding extra texture and substance that's already there.
The challenging soundscapes and things like the animations add extra meat to the body of expression that director Hideo Nakata uses - and I personally liked them and thought they added to the film. Some of the discussions on serious emotional conditions and suicide may help those who are exposed to those feelings and experiences, or they may not - depending on how mentally well one is. But at least it raises them, which is quite brave.
I don't necessarily think that the "hammy" acting that many have criticised is out of place here - touching and nuanced performances would be out of place in this aggressively symbolic and stylised movie. And, when one types on Facebook, with modern, abbreviated cyber-speak and even more so with Twitter, then dialogue is even more stilted, with even less room for delicate expression.
The other characters add to the mixture of messed-up heads and some social comment on what is acceptable and what isn't gets some interesting airing. I think many viewers who've come back from the pub and expected a simple cat and mouse cyber-bullying flick may have well been unprepared for how deep and complex this thriller is and been put off by that. It's a brave and imaginative film; flawed, yes. A nice bonus for those of us who've visited the locations such as Camden Lock and London Zoo are indeed, the familiar locations.