The Social Network, now that I have seen it, is Fincher's least flashy film. It certainly is beautiful and more; it is perfectly precise in it's editing, framing, camera movement, etc – as usual for Fincher. I have never seen Fincher miss a shot, and he doesn't in The Social Network. What's notable, however, is that The Social Network doesn't have any scenes or sequences that are in the tradition of the Zodiac killings, the San Francisco highrise time-lapse, the bird's eye view of the taxi crawling through S.F. and pretty much Panic Room and Fight Club in their entirety – all but this one sequence.
The Henley sequence is a row-crew racing sequence (and fantastically I have added a link for you to watch it online, below. It isn't essential to the plot; not a spoiler, so you can watch this even if you haven't seen the film). This sequence stands out against the rest of the movie, by its cinematography as well as its scoring. Musically, Reznor and Ross decided not to write original music for the sequence but adapt Edvard Grieg's infamous Peer Gynt Op. 49, "In The Hall Of The Mountain King". Cronenweth and Fincher chose to shoot the sequence with a special camera technique, tilt shift isolated focus.
In a recent interview, Fincher mentions why:
We could only shoot 3 races at the Henley Royal Regatta; We had to shoot 4 days of boat inserts in Eton. The only way to make the date for release was to make the backgrounds as soft as humanly possible. I decided it might be more “subjective” if the world around the races fell away in focus, leaving the rowers to move into and out of planes of focus to accentuate their piston-like effort.
– David Fincher
And if you have ever wondered where Mark Romanek's snapshot of Fincher was coming from: That came about when David Fincher was shooting inserts for this very sequence in July. Hence the water in the background.
Effects house A52 did effects work on the sequence,
although I am not sure, what exactly they were doing replacing backgrounds and creating some of the tilt shift effect. Anway, they are the ones, who did put it on their website. So you can watch it online and see what all this fuzz is about!