Review: The Social Network

The Social Network | David Fincher, 2010

How did you react to the news that there was going to be a movie about Facebook? Were you one of those who upong hearing about it condemned it as one of the worst things ever just based on the subject? If so, you must feel pretty silly that that the movie has come out and, well, almost every critic has called it one of, if not THE, best movies of the year. Even I, who thought that the movie had potential because behind every powerful corporation there is juicy drama, was suprised by how great the movie turned out to be. It is, without a doubt, one of the best movies of the year.

The movie opens with Mark Zuckerberg ( Jesse Eisenberg) in a bar with his girfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara, the future Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). From the get go we learn that he is one of those smart guys that can’t help but let the whole world about it. Everything in the conversation is about him, and when it is not about him he is either correcting, complaining about, or offending Erica. So, she call him an asshole and breaks up with him. That leads him to create a site where Harvard students can compare other female studens with one another, and brings down the university’s network in two hours. That catches the interest of the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) who are trying to launch a social network for Harvard students, so that they can meet girls, or something like that. From then on, he gets the idea for thefacebook and he and his best friend Eduardo Savarin (Andrew Garfield) set on  making it a reality. And we go from there, cutting between the drama that this caused and the discussion of the lawsuits that happened after the fact.

That may not seem like much, but this is fascinating stuff. Reviews have compared it to movies like Citizen Kane and All the President’s Men, not because it is as great as those, at least not yet, but because it takes something that is relevant and seemingly insignificant, and finds something fascinating. The credit for this must go to Aaron Sorkin’s fantastic screenplay. First off, the dialogue if fucking fantastic. From the first frames it draws you in by its fluidity and how the words sound together. I’ve never been a huge Sorkin fan, but wow, he outdid himself. Also, how he structured the story, cutting between the making of Facebook and the legal action that was taken against Zuckerberg. Ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, the movie is only a bit about Facebook, but more about ambition, and a time capsule for an event that defined a generation. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won an Oscar for this (I’m rooting for the toys though).

Also aiding in the movie’s brilliance is David Fincher’s great directing. There are already some complaints going around because it is not quite as stylish and more straight forward than his previous features, but that does not mean that he did not do a great job, but rather than he was able to show restraint when it was needed. And, who says that his signature style wasn’t there. The cinematography, the fantastic Trent Reznot-Atticus Ross score, and the use of visual effects scream “Fincher.” And I must also mention the editing. It was so great that I rarely noticed it and the movie flew by.

And then there is the acting. Jesse Eisenberg is so good. He is not really playing Zukerberg, but rather building a character out of what is known about him. He is cold, a smart ass, and an ass hole, and Sorkin’s dialogue flows out of his mouth beautifully. Andrew Garfield steals just about every scene he is in. I would love to see him get a supporting actor Oscar (although that won’t happen because he is too young and non-winner John Malkovich is on the derby, no pun intended). Justin Timberlake is very good as Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and Facebook leech, but it was a bit hard to separate him from this true self. And Armie Hammer also deserves some sort of awards recognition. He plays two personalities perfectly.

The Social Network is a fantastic movie. It may not be the best movie of the year (again, it’s all about the toys), but it will definitely be in my top 10 of the year. Can’t wait to see it again.

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