The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'The Social Network' keeps teasing us with great trailers

July 8, 2010 |  4:26 pm

Sony has another great new teaser trailer up online for "The Social Network," the studio's Aaron Sorkin-penned chronicle of the formative days of Facebook, back when Mark Zuckerberg was just another callow Harvard genius trying to figure out how to change the world, make a few zillion dollars and score with chicks. The movie, directed by David Fincher, was just accepted as the opening night film at the New York Film Festival, which will debut the movie in late September, just a week ahead of its nationwide Oct. 1 opening.

The trailer's genius is that it illustrates the entire dramatic arc of the film on a primitive Facebook-style page, adorned only with Sorkin dialogue tapped out as Facebook posts. It only takes 72 seconds to make it clear that the movie isn't pulling any punches. It portrays Facebook founder Zuckerberg (who has already made clear that he's dreading the prospect of millions of moviegoers seeing all his collegiate dirty laundry spread across a big screen) as wildly immature, insensitive, arrogant, amoral and egotistical, but astoundingly brilliant. In other words, he's the perfect hero of a David Fincher movie.

My favorite snatch of unflattering dialogue comes when one of The Z Man's buddies asks if he actually stole someone else's idea for Facebook. He cooly responds: "They came to me with an idea, I had a better one."

I've dying to know who's responsible for the creative ideas behind the teaser, which is the second wizardly trailer Sony has cut for the film. But Sony marketing chief Marc Weinstock won't tell me anything, clearly being a believer that marketers should stay behind the curtain at all costs. But I'm guessing that Fincher, who has always been intimately involved in all his film's marketing (and having spent years making great commercials), had a strong hand in shaping the rivetingly effective teasers.

If anyone must really be in seventh heaven, it's Sorkin, since this is the second straight trailer that hasn't used any footage from the film, just talk from the picture. I mean, when's the last time a major studio built an entire film campaign around a screenwriter's dialogue? Of course, it can only go downhill from here. If this keeps up, it's only a matter of time before some perfectionist marketing chief brings in another screenwriter to rewrite their trailer's dialogue.  

At any rate, watch for yourself: