Full Price Feature
The Social Network has been described, almost dismissively, as the Facebook Movie with that awesome choral Creep preview. Give it a shot. Unlike Facebook itself, The Social Network has no real flaws. Based on Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, Network focuses on programmer Mark Zuckerberg’s rise from too-smart Harvard hacker to two-fisted lawsuit target and CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg (played keenly by Jesse Eisenberg) opens the movie with his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) sparring with snappy dialogue in a pub and giving us a tour of his abstract but multi-leveled thought processes. This fantastic opening scene sets Zuckerberg’s character up as an accidental ass, a guy with near-Asbergery obliviousness as to his effect on people yet a completely human need to connect with people and to feel like he’s special by being connected to the right people.
This film might seem to reduce Zuckerberg’s ideas into just a reaction to his college experiences, but in a way it makes the infamous insidiousness of Facebook in our lives now even more meaningful, like a good hero origin story. Where else can narcissism, passive aggression, exhibitionism, stalking, and exposure happen with the intensity it does in the bubble of college life? It’s meaningful too that Zuckerberg’s first foray into public sharing is a game of malicious fun.
The dialogue is smashing. Earlier, describing the first pub scene, I was going to say it was Sorkinesque, but guess who wrote the screenplay? The acting is flawless. The score by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is exciting and atmospheric and was pre-ordered by me immediately. Jeff Cronenweth’s cinematography (he also did Down With Love and One Hour Photo, be still my heart!) is intimate and artsy but not in a pretentious way. That cool particular depth of focus effect that makes real life landscapes look like miniatures is employed, highlighting the sense that in this world, on the stage in which these players are scrambling for prominence, all these little things take on huge meaning.
I did not know the history of Facebook, nor much about Sean “founder of Napster” Parker (played perfectly by Justin Timberlake) — he swoops in when partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield, unfairly overlooked in previews) and Zuckerberg start to crack under their differences. The real-life Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, are played by one actor, Armie Hammer, a young Captain Awesome indeed, in a completely seamless effect. I was so sure they were real twin actors, not only from the evidence of my eyes but from my ears — their voices differed and their body language did somewhat too, ever so slightly. (One of them has a line spoken in anger that’s extra funny knowing he’s just one guy.)
I honestly can’t find a thing to say against The Social Network. Director David Fincher is no slouch at filmmaking, but this movie was just an elegant, stylish perfect storm of great things — not unlike the incidental ideas that collided in Zuckerberg’s world as he came up with the concepts for Facebook. I was riveted and emotionally engaged, though more so by Eduardo than the chilly and sad Mark. Eisenberg plays him as if he is being unfairly persecuted, yet also with a sad acceptance as if he knows being the bad guy is the cost for making his dream happen. How the courts decided and how you decide may differ, but Eisenberg isn’t going to hand you the keys. I felt it was a strong choice to make in each moment of his tumultuous year or so. Is there a difference between obsession and motivation? Does one feed the other? Check it out.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 10/1/10
Time in minutes 121
Director David Fincher
Studio Columbia Pictures