Top critical review
The accidental billionaires
on 17 May 2015
I've seen the film The Social Network which is a masterly piece of cinematic art and storytelling. So I was interested to read the book on which it is based, and hoped to gain a deeper understanding of the situations. However, the book is too scant to do that, and I'm not surprised that one of the main participants in the founding of Facebook isn't willing to be interviewed; he's busy.
If it wasn't for the female angle there wouldn't be much of a story; so two guys fell out over rights to a new company. But the college atmosphere where young men drool over girls seems pressure cooker-like and the girls, nicely, are shown as not being themselves under any pressure. I don't know how true this is. The female company theme continues to follow the two men as they go to California and back to the east coast, without any woman playing a major part in the new company. I also liked the sense of the underdog, the asocial student, making it big when the influential, wealthy, connected students did not. Partly this shows up America's long lionising of the fit and brave, when the smart and stealthy actually end up with the money.
The writing of the story seems rushed, with too many scenes containing 'he may have thought' or 'perhaps he did' instead of giving us facts. The story is mainly coming from one interviewee's point of view. There's nothing taxing in the read, no better understanding of the creation of a website or why, when one creator had given away inventions rather than sell them in the past, he now went for broke.
Certainly I found it interesting to compare the screenplay with the book, see the rearrangement of facts and dates, which gives me a better understanding of the work of the film creators. As all the events occurred over a short period, and the film had the benefit of including two lawsuits to demonstrate in flashback how the story had unfolded, we can see the kaleidoscope of film creativity.