For all the talk, the real star may be the music.
This film’s rewatchability, well beyond its supposed novelty as simply “the Facebook movie”, is due to the less obvious (or is it less sensational?) film-making choices ratcheting up the tension: Aaron Sorkin‘s dialogue, David Fincher‘s direction, the interesting performances, the meticulous shot composition, and the rapid-fire editing are all the most apparent cylinders on which The Social Network is firing.
But, for me, the real star is the music. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross create in each scene a unique soundscape, which builds subliminally, from the innocuous to the cacophonous. You’re so fixated on the dialogue, which cross-cuts as much as the editing, that you’ve not noticed that the intense claustrophobia and conflict is, in large part, because this music you didn’t even know was playing is pounding like blood in your ears. It’s the sound you don’t notice until – it ends. Breath. And then the next round begins. It’s an amazing magic trick, as expert as any other aspect of The Social Network. However,
the real magic may perhaps be, through each round of this onslaught, how pleasurable it becomes to be so manipulated.
Interestingly, the David Fincher / Trent Reznor connection goes back a ways: throughout the writing of the book upon which Fincher’s Fight Club was based, author Chuck Palahniuk listened to Reznor’s band, Nine Inch Nails, to maintain the mood and intensity the story required. It says something that their eventual collaboration was on a movie which, at first, seems to feature so few of the most obvious traits of either’s aesthetic. But as each artist has matured, their respective explorations and palettes have each become more nuanced, more interested in subtler, less flashy, yet ultimately more resonant and effective ideas.
As part of their ’10 Minutes of Perfection’ series, Insider breaks down How Aaron Sorkin creates musical dialogue in The Social Network:
… and reveals three things he learned while working with The Social Network and Fight Club director of photography: