More Than Intriguing Possibilities
Bittersweet when experienced through the film, laying the groundwork for Mark's quest for creating his social network, the beginning of his feud with Eduardo, and the court case with Cameron, Tyler and Divya, Intriguing Possibilities delivers a more abstract, stunning and profound message when taken in by itself. The endings differ - in the film the song is cut with an abrupt and powerful bass piano. As fully composed, the song achieves far more than leaving a blank ending. I take this creative decision of omission as being demanded by the narrative, because the transformation offered by the full extent of Intriguing Possibilities would not be suitable at the point in the film at which it is placed. The story is nowhere near complete and this should be the case with the song.
While it fully complements the scene in building tension, dialogue and visible action, I believe it not only tells a deeper story, but tells the entire story of the drama of Facebook, so inexorably and precisely interwoven that one cannot help sensing an overload of information purely from the musical soundscape. It strengthens the distinctly fast and gripping dynamic established by Sorkin and Fincher.
I will attempt to put into words what I imagine a textual interpretation might look like.
The interplay between editing and sound design is astonishing in how despite having several different levels of intricate audio one is able to be fully engaged and clearly follow the scene. It begins, or rather leads away from the continuous lawyers' debate, discussing evidence for Zuckerberg's first steps of activity straying from his agreement with the antagonists on building the social network. Given the context, we already inhabit a virtual world, hence the overarching synthesizer.
With the initial cutaway to Mark's many whiteboards featuring his ideas, already a subtle spectrum of dazzling synapses eases in through the cascading of a high and seemingly chaotic synthesizer. It can be explained as broadly as space noise, or the existence of the universe. Amidst the chaos there appear patterns resembling intelligence - the first sign of emergence of life through harmony. A powerful synthetic bass emerges, the beating heart, and almost immediately after comes something more familiar. From the chaos is born a single and simple entity, the piano, representing man, or rather man as a physical being. Within the film it represents the feelings and thoughts of Mark Zuckerberg.
The brilliance in this representation is overshadowed only by the fact that despite Mark's eloquent and sharp dialogue there still exists a void. His impulsivity leads to verbal jousting for much of the feature and leaves one wondering whether he is indeed thinking or feeling what he's expressing, and to what extent. Continuing, man is one with the chaos around him, yet within him there resides an urge for something more, just as the piano diverges from its beginning leitmotif. It leaves the comfort zone in pursuit of the idea, initiating a harder thumping heartbeat and motion from the surrounding universe - action and reaction.
With the thought of the idea having shook the foundations in the score, a new phenomenon eases in, the electric guitar. It's barely visible on the horizon, still hiding behind man and chaos as a single fluctuating, discordant and dissonant interval, growing in intensity and pervading what's been established until it proves no longer bearable. Through a metal distortion the guitars rise up and completely take over man by force, towering over him, separating the original interval into two melodies: the first complementing man and the second providing support and demonstrating just how passionate and dangerous that idea is. It is untamable by man, more powerful than him.
Man is taken aback by this new truth, laying silent for a brief moment before the guitar comes creeping in again.
Almost serendipitously does man find his way in the universe, accepting its electronic substance through his own melody and finally realizing the universe responds with complete support. At last we have undiversified harmony: the idea is fully formed and the universe shimmers in sync with the melody of man. Yet, it does not seem to me that man has bent the universe to his will, but through dedication, risk and understanding, he's able to find that his melody was always meant to be in tandem with the universe, transcends into a greater being and solidifies his place in the world. It is no mistake the final melody matches that of Nine Inch Nails song Closer’s epilogue.
True to its name, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' Intriguing Possibilities plays with and instills uncertainty and chaos and in just over four minutes depicts an entire revolution - the piano leitmotif, having gone from a calm piano to a blazing, roaring phoenix of an electric guitar, finally ends with a synthetic undertone, concluding with a slow and complete, but most distinct digital harmonization - going from man as a physical being to man as a digital being; going from person to user.
Nothing short of pure storytelling genius.