The Social Network: 2-Disc Edition

How to lose friends and alienate everybody...

The Social Network might seem to be a film about the creation of Facebook, but once past the surface it’s so much more than that. Director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin have used Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires as the springboard for a rich and rewarding intellectual property battle-cum-morality play, albeit one that is almost indecently smart and quite probably plays a little fast and loose with the facts. While Fincher’s direction is as assured and fastidious as ever, it’s Sorkin’s script that is the real star this time around. Loaded with genuine wit and wisdom, it transforms what could be a dry and technical history lesson into one of the most engrossing and invigorating Hollywood films in ages.

Picture: Excellent contrast and clarity are the most obvious hallmarks of The Social Network’s terrific AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode. While the film opts – like pretty much all of Fincher’s films – for a rather muted palette it never results in a lack of fine detail and textures, and those sequences that are more colourful look simply fantastic. Despite being shot digitally, the film doesn’t look particularly sterile either, instead offering up a surprising natural image that is about as close as the format has come to replicating a film shot on celluloid. Admittedly, there’s a tiny bit of banding evident in a couple of scenes, but this is a very minor blemish in what is otherwise a exceptional hi-def encode that is as true to its source material as you could possibly hope for.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Given that the story of Facebook deals with computer nerds and legal meetings rather than gun battles and alien invasions, you might not expect too much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1. Oh, how wrong you’d be. Regular Fincher collaborator Ren Klyce serves as sound designer once again and, together with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who provide the film’s original music, has delivered yet another of his intricately detailed and remarkably potent soundscapes. It’s also surprisingly rich in tight bass, particularly the visit to the Ruby Skye nightclub in Chapter 12, which will shake your room to its very foundations. Best of all though is the fact that none of this ever threatens to overwhelm the dialogue (a good thing too, as it’s often delivered like machine-gun fire), which is cleanly rendered and pinned to the centre speaker.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Another David Fincher film, another batch of impressive supplementary material that does its best to dig in to every aspect of production. Sensibly most of the material is given a disc of its own to save on the bitrate for the film itself, meaning that the only extras on Disc One are a BD-Live link and a pair of audio commentaries. Fincher does the first as a solo track and, as always, digs deep into the filmmaking process. The second is a piecemeal affair with writer Aaron Sorkin and various members of the cast chiming in about their thoughts on making the film and their take on the material.

The major extra on Disc Two is the four-part 93min documentary How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?. This ridiculously detailed look at the making of the film covers everything from casting to costume selection, production design to the shoot itself via interviews and behind-the-scenes footage and is a must-see for anybody with an interest in the film or moviemaking in general. Also housed on the second disc is a short featurette about the film’s visual style, a featurette about editing and sound design, a look at the film’s score, a multi-angle breakdown of the Ruby Skye sequence, an interactive music piece and a piece with Trent Reznor demonstrating the capabilities of a Swarmatron instrument used in the score.
Extra rating: 4/5

We say: With this spectacular double-disc platter, 2010’s best film has become a frontrunner for 2011’s best Blu-ray.

Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25 approx, On sale now