The Social Network

In Movie Reviews on October 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

This David Fincher directed film is best watched with the mindset that you are viewing not the telling of the rise of one of the most dominate forces in our lives today, but instead a spectacular business drama. Trying to gain any meaningful facts on the true creation of Facebook would be pointless at best, and futile at worst. But that is not to say this film is flawed or should not be seen. The exact opposite is actually true.

This movie is so engaging that I would recommend EVERYONE go see it as soon as they can. Jesse Eisenberg is completely brilliant in his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. From the very opening scene, you have are left wondering if he is just a complete social outcast or truly a conceded jerk, and this question continues throughout the entire movie (and it actually never really resolved). Yes, at times he treats people (using the term “friends” would be way to much of a stretch) like just means to an end, but then at other times (pay close attention to the deposition scenes) you can see the real pain he is feeling by having to go through what he is going through.

All of these emotion are slowly brought out through Aaron Sorkin’s spectacular script. There is no question there will be a screen writer Oscar nod for Sorkin. Just like he did throughout his years on SportsNight and The West Wing, Sorkin knows how to draw the viewer in with some of the most biting and jaring dialog you will ever hear. An example:

Facebook Lawyer: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window] No.
Facebook Lawyer: Do you think I deserve it?
Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at the lawyer] What?
Facebook Lawyer: Do you think I deserve your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don’t want to purjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.
Facebook Lawyer: Okay – no. You don’t think I deserve your attention.
Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try – but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. [pauses]
Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

These type of acid tongue exchanges are a staple of any Sorkin script, and he is at his best in writing The Social Network. Every character seems to shine with the words they are given, from Zuckerberg’s long lost love Erica:

“Listen. You’re going to be succesful and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because your a tech geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because your an asshole.”

To the surprisingly powerful portrayal of Sean Parker (Napster founder and mentor to Zuckerberg) by Justin Timberlake, in response to someone challenging that he didn’t change the music industry

“Oh really, would you like to buy Tower Records now?”

Fincher takes this masterful script and directs the audience into the story through the creative use of the two lawsuit depositions. The questions from the suing parties lawyers (and subsequent answers by Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg) help narrate the story along at a smooth even pace. You are not overwhelmed with information or plot twists.

If there is one criticism I had with the movie, it is that by the time the credits role, you are left with no one to really root for or care about. Zuckerberg, although not completely unlikable, is in the end shown as a loner with no heart. Even in the final scene, you are not sure if we what he is waiting on is because he is hoping for it to turn out right, or if it is because he just want to gloat a little more.

Sean Parker’s final scene (which to me was completely unnecessary to the overall story) is so open ended, the viewer is left going “what the hell happened to him?!”

And this brings me to Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin. This is the one character in the entire movie which are you supposed to feel compassion and sympathy for. But not even Sorkin’s script and Fincher’s directing to make this kid into a decent actor. Stiff and almost wooden throughout the entire film, there is never any bond formed between Saverin and Zuckerberg to make the audience care what happens to either in the final scene.

But it does not matter, because the movie is so good up to this point. Expect to hear Sorkin’s, Fincher’s and possibly Timberlake’s name on the Oscar ballots.

4.5 out of 5 stars.


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