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March 14, 2011
The Social Network Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
28/10/20102/3/2011Sony PicturesDavid Fincher
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MJesse Eisenberg

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Jesse Eisenberg is brilliant in The Social Network.

With over 600 million members Facebook has been a success on an unprecedented scale. How though do you make a movie based on the creation of a website - surely watching a group of guys writing lines of code can't be that interesting? That was the question that arose when the film was announced, and David Fincher was named as the director. The answer was simple, don't make a movie about the website, but rather the relationships of the founders of the company.

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.

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A heavy night of coding... been there, done that.
Admittedly I wasn't really too sure what to expect from this movie, but the final result blew me away. It really is a story about a person's development of life and while the filmmakers have taken some liberties with characters and events from real-life, the overall experience is gripping from start to finish. Jesse Eisenberg is simply brilliant as Mark Zuckerberg while Andrew Garfield (who is soon to replace Tobey Maguire for the Spider-man reboot) is superb as Eduardo Saverin who co-founded Facebook with Mark. Throw in some other great performances - including Justin Timberlake as Napster co-founder Sean Parker.

Despite starting out in a rather busy, and noisy, bar scene where the characters talk at 100mph and are hard to understand at times this film soon settles down to some great moments and character building scenes. You'll love some, loathe some, but ultimately be left with a sense of, well, almost disheartenment. There isn't too much to complain about here, although I do question David Fincher's emphasis on realism for the audio - at times you'll miss phrases and comments. It's intentional, but also infuriating at times.

The Social Network is a riveting movie and while it has a basis about the creation of Facebook, it really is a movie about the complex lives of the characters involved. While debate continues about the accuracy of the events to real life, there is no denying this is a riveting movie.

Using the latest RED One digital cameras The Social Network really is a stunning film to watch with a sharpness and clarity that stands out to make this a near perfect transfer to Blu-Ray. Fine detail is evident throughout, colours are vibrant when they need to be - the night club scene comes to mind - and shadow detail is good with minimal black crush or colour banding.

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The Winklevoss Twins in The Social Network.
A moment ago I did say this is a "near perfect" transfer and indeed on a technical level there is next to nothing to complain about. Our only minor niggle with this film is that everything seems to have a somewhat unnatural "yellow" hue to it - that's certainly a directorial and lighting decision rather then a deficiency of the transfer. Still, overall, a gorgeous looking film.

On a technical level The Social Network Blu-Ray includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track and it simply can't be faulted. The Social Network is a stunning movie sonically - although at times it doesn't sound like it. David Fincher was quite adamant that he wanted the audio to sound "real" and not like a movie.

Indeed the opening scene in the bar is a prime example of what David Fincher was after, a crowded, noisy bar that often obscures the lengthy conversation between Mark and Erica. Likewise at 1:20:30 in the film Mark is talking to Sean Parker in a night club. The music nearly blew me out of the room with the thumping bass, but it's realistic, and hearing the conversation between them is, at times, a challenge. It's a design decision, but to be honest it was actually an annoyance at times and could have been toned back just a little bit.

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Justin Timberlake is impressive.
Other languages on this disc include Spanish and Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks, an English Audio Descriptive Service track encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps, and a Catalan 5.1 track encoded at 448kbps. We sampled each track briefly and didn't notice any glaring issues. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, Italian and Spanish, and from sampling the English tracks they appear accurate to the dialogue.

As such a critically acclaimed movie it's impressive to see Sony Pictures release this as a 2-disc set, with a tonne of content to get through. Fortunately it's not all fluff either as the content is very well produced.

Audio Commentary with David Fincher: Flying solo in an audio commentary is often a chore - for the person involved, but more so the listeners. Fortunately David Fincher is not only interesting to listen to, but divulges a wealth of knowledge about the creation of the film.

Audio Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin & The Cast: Not only is Aaron Sorkin in this track but also the principal cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Josh Pence. It seems some of the participants were recorded separately however this is a rather lighthearted track with plenty of stories about the films production.

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Mark Zuckerberg faces legal issues.
How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? (1:32:43/HD): Running just over 90 minutes this documentary provides and extensive look at the creation of this film, with the primary focus being on the creation of the story and on-set filming. Interviews with the cast and crew are interesting, however it's the "fly on the wall" segments during filming and pre-production that provide the most interesting aspects.

Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals (7:48/HD): This is a pretty interesting look at shooting the film in locations that would have a look similar to Harvard University after they put on so many restrictions on filming in real locations. Discussion also takes place on the lighting techniques used with the RED One digital cameras. There's a great story included about shooting the Harvard arches and how they lit it without permission.

Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter and Ren Klyce on Post (17:24/HD): This is a great piece in which the Editors talk about reducing the 268 hours of shot footage into a 2 hour film and how David Fincher's style works for a movie such as this. There are quite a few samples comparing different takes and why the choice was made for the final film. Quite a bit of time is also spent on the audio design.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and David Fincher on the Score (18:55/HD): Spending 20 minutes with the composers of a movie is rarely seen on a DVD/Blu-Ray release, but this is a great look at how the music was created for this film - and given they have since won an Academy Award, quite a great inclusion.

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The Social Network is on Blu-Ray now.
In the Hall of the Mountain King: Reznor's First Draft (2:30/HD): This great little featurette allows you to play the rowing scene with the First and Final Draft of the music, and with or without the other effects. It really demonstrates how the entire tone can change with improvement to one area of audio.

Swarmatron (4:28/HD): This is a device used to create unique sounds for the film.

Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown (19:28/HD): Essentially four angles are presented here; rehearsal, tech scout, interviews and principal photography. Alternatively all four can be watched as a Composite view, and you can switch between audio tracks. Interesting.

Whether you're tech-savvy or not The Social Network is a stunning film well worth your time. The direction, cinematography and audio are all top-notch and the transfer to Blu-Ray is stunning. Throw in a set of brilliant extras and this is an essential purchase. Brilliant.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of themovie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.