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The Social Network (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

On October 12, Sony released the Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 2. The set is a follow up to their now out of print and very well received first volume that found many legendary and important films of all types and genres from different eras featuring notable filmmakers and big star turns in the history of Columbia Pictures together on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray for the very first time. These sets receive immaculate care in terms of restoration and come in fantastic packaging complete with a hardcover mini coffee table book with added essay and high quality photos (You can find my detailed look at the packaging by clicking HERE). The second volume picks up on the greatness that set left off on and includes the films Anatomy of a Murder, Oliver!, Taxi Driver, Stripes, Sense and Sensibility and The Social Network. You can order yourself a copy of the Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 2 (while it lasts) using the paid Amazon Associates link following the review. We now close out these film reviews with the most “modern” of all the films, David Finchers’ The Social Network from 2010.

Film

THE SOCIAL NETWORK, directed by David Fincher, is the stunning tale of a new breed of cultural insurgent: a punk genius who sparked a revolution and changed the face of human interaction for a generation, and perhaps forever. Shot through with emotional brutality and unexpected humor, this superbly crafted film chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a complex, incisive screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a brilliant cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, THE SOCIAL NETWORK bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture (2010).

Its remarkable that The Social Network went from a concept of “Facebook – The Movie” to being a serious Best Picture contender. But, that is the mark of great filmmakers. The collaborative effort of David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and duo of Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross combined for one of the most unique and effective biopics we’ve come to see. Its filled with a cast of exciting young actors that really bite and make this an engaging and altogether great film that really just flies by and proves an enjoyable rewatch where most films are of the one time and you get it variety.

The way the snappy, intense and grasping dialogue plays so well with its performers and the way the film’s score backs its intentions is a little bit of a marvel. There’s a dark, haunting feeling surrounding the film that permeates a sense of dread that feels much different than you come to expect in these types of film exercises. No matter how much fun the film is, you’re waiting for the characters and events to finally tip to our wraparound scenes. Fincher’s vision and cinematography also largely helps play into this as well. There’s also a digital, computer age feel to its as well that is both on the nose and sort of ambiguous in the tone at the same time.

Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer and Justin Timberlake form a nice group putting in some of their best work, especially that of Timberlake who impresses doubters with ease. It feels as though its one of those launching point movies for a handful of male actors that tend to come around every once in a while, despite some of them having already put in good work. Even doubters of Timberlake have to admit, he’s pretty good in this film. While Eisenberg is tremendous, amping up the type of quality he brings to films to its finest degree, Garfield may be the one overlooked at putting some excellent work.

The Social Network just honestly cooks as a film. Its surface level story is good, dramatic and engaging. We still live in the moment of this creation to where there’s a whole lot more story that can be told now. On a technical level, the film surprisingly shines, but it should come as no surprise considering Fincher’s hand. But, he makes some of the right non-traditional choices to help this thing stand out and just be a damn good film rather than some in the moment fad or paint by numbers account of history.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: I don’t begrudge them putting The Social Network on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, but for a set like this it feels like an odd one as it is a 4K upscale and not a native title. That said, it is an upgrade upon the original HD image as these cosmetic fixes make for better detail and a sharper picture with better color saturation and more depth to it.

Depth:  The film has plenty of good spacing and showcasing of scale despite a claustrophobic visual style going on in the film. Movements are natural and smooth. No issues come abound with any sort of distortions with rapid movements like blurring or jittering.

Black Levels: Blacks work a bit better here in this transfer. They are quite deep and handled plenty admirably with no real crushing issues apparent. As dark as things are, it manages to keep patterns, finer information and texture all in line.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong and cozy feeling in their fullness. There’s a nice overall copper look to the film during its early Harvard scenes that look quite strong in this transfer. Saturation and is quite good and HDR adds a little glow in all the right light and display screen places.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures come through quite clear in any given medium or close up shot.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Unrated), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Unrated), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Theatrical), English Audio Descriptive Service (Theatrical), Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, French (Parisian) 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French (Canada) 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Hungarian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital VO, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English (Unrated), English SDH (Unrated), English (Theatrical), English SDH (Theatrical), Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics: The Social Network gets a feisty little Atmos track to upgrade to on this release. Its quite a loud, rambunctious and well balanced mix that really falls in love with the score and bleeds and beats it out with great effect, but never stepping over any dialogue or sound effects. For a drama focused movie around talking scenes, this thing manages to up the ante and be rather spectacular.

Height: The film doesn’t really doesn’t offer much in the way of height channels but this mix does well not to forget it, even if it is ambient noise and the occasional assists with the music in the film.

Low Frequency Extension: The score REALLY rocks the subwoofer here in this mix. From Reznor’s work to the bumping club sequences, this thing is really rocking. Natural sound effects get a little extra low end pulsing through things like doors shutting, engines humming, slamming on tables and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The score pops up around the room and the rear and side channels do well in crafting some good ambiance. Every room is well defined with feeling lived in and paying attention to other things happening off screen in any given environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp and really well defined and effective in this mix.

Extras

The Social Network comes with the standard Blu-ray version and a redeemable digital code for the film. It comes with two versions of the film; theatrical and unrated. With the exception of a couple trailers, all bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc. This edition of the film is currently only available as part of the Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 2.

4K UHD

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 5:14)

BLU-RAY Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • With Director David Fincher
  • Writer Aaron Sorkin and the Cast

BLU-RAY Disc 2

How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook? (HD, 1:32:43)

Jeff Cronenweth and David Fincher on the Visuals (HD, 7:48)

Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter, and Ren Klyce on Post (HD, 17:24)

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and David Fincher on the Score (HD, 18:55)

In the Hall of the Mountain King: Music Exploration (HD, 2:30)

Swarmatron (HD, 4:28)

Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown (HD, 19:28)

Summary

The Social Network is a triumph of getting not only a Facebook movie to work, but just to work as a damn fine thrilling drama in its own right. Its upgrade to 4K is a pretty cosmetic one, due to it being an upscale. Trailers are the only new feature, but the complete 2-disc original release on standard Blu-ray is included, so you do get everything that was there before which is quite a lot of good material.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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