Wednesday, October 27, 2010

That hoary old chestnut... A Film By --

Fair bet anybody who knows me (in my creative circles) understands I worship at the altar of one A. Sorkin.

[Let's take a moment to pause here and genuflect as appropriate]

So I 'm quite surprised when the Hollywood dream pairing of Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher produces "A Film by David Fincher", namely 'The Social Network'.

I haven't seen the film yet - it opens in Australia today and I'll be heading to my favourite cinema soon - but I have read the screenplay. While it may not be his typical style of protagonist, the script is pure Sorkin, namely scintillating dialogue and a fractured timeline narrative he often deployed in 'The West Wing' (for example, 'The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Parts 1&2' and the majestic 'Two Cathedrals').

What hope do the rest of us have when such a distinctive screenwriting talent has to put up with A Film By [insert director here] --?

Don't get me wrong, I like Fincher and most of the films he has directed (though I wasn't as high on 'Zodiac' as some people and haven't seen '...Benjamin Button' yet). But even many of the reviews I've read talk about Fincher's storytelling style and neglect to even mention the screenplay or its writer! Which, by the way, is a shoo-in for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination at the Oscars, Golden Globes, WGA, WASA's, you name it.

Now, I am the first to admit that when I heard of "the Facebook movie" I couldn't see how it would deliver an overly dramatic tale. Then, when I read the script the first time, I couldn't see how a dialogue heavy story criss-crossing between two court depositions and flashbacks would be a commercial hit. But I should have always trusted Mister Sorkin - and I have no doubt Mister Fincher has brought his usual visual flair to the material - given that it is now being described as one of the films of the year and is doing well at the US Box Office.

But let me say this - in an age when the new 120 pages is around 100 - I would NEVER be able to get away with writing a 162 page script... but then I'm no Aaron Sorkin. Few people are.

So endeth the lesson.

Remember to genuflect on your way out...


  1. Hmmmm, saw 'Made in Dagenham' yesterday and think I counted 10 production or film-by type names before the thing started!
    Or was it 'Eat, Pray, Love'... one of the two anyway, so I found your comment pertinent.

  2. The French have a LOT to answer for! :-)