With our culture already full of hate and distrust for Silicon Valley, one must ask if the epicenter of innovation deserves one more knee to the groin from the world of popular entertainment.
The answer, most assuredly, is Yes.
The latest smackdown arrives Friday in the form of a movie called The Circle, which is based on the book of the same name by Dave Eggers. The movie stars Forrest Gump as the Steve Zuckerbergian CEO villain who hires Hermione Granger to work in his lair of evil that not so coincidentally looks EXACTLY like Apple’s new spaceship campus that opens this month. At work, she befriends that guilt-ridden Stormtrooper who appears to have emerged from his coma at the end of The Force Returns.
The book was released more than four years ago, and the real question may be whether the movie is dark enough.
After all, the film comes after a year in which Russian hacking and fake news manipulation of social media platforms helped elevate a debt-ridden reality TV star to the presidency, along with months of controversies surrounding Uber’s underhanded business tactics and sexual harassment culture, evidence that the government may in fact be watching our every digital move, and growing anxiety about whether artificial intelligence is finally about to trigger the Terminator-like apocalyptic future we’ve been fearing for decades.
I mean, reality is already pretty dark. And we’re not even counting VR porn.
The movie also comes on the verge of the fourth season of HBO’s Silicon Valley, which has effectively been portraying the region’s startup players as a collection of village idiots. And, of course, there was the Steve Jobs movie in 2015, which gave us Angry Steve Jobs, jerkus maximus. A couple of years before that, we had Her, with that sexy, whispery computer A.I., which frankly gives me the shivers every time I hear Alexa or Siri piping up.
Finally, let us not forget the masterpiece of the genre, The Social Network, which portrayed Mark Zuckerberg as a narcissistic misogynist who built Facebook basically because some woman at Harvard wouldn’t date him.
Somehow, Silicon Valley’s view of itself, in which building systems that allow users to order cheaper dog food over the internet will lead to a democratization of opportunity for people across the farthest reaches of the planet, never quite seems to make it into Hollywood scripts. Go figure.
In any case, we’ll see if The Circle can top real life. Here is the trailer. Let us know what you think: