The Social Network (2010 Columbia)
You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. Directed by David Fincher. Written by Aaron Sorkin (screenplay) and Ben Mezrich (book). Produced by David Fincher, Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Ceán Chaffin and Kevin Spacey.
You already know the story. You already know what it’s about, who it’s about and what they’re saying about it and them. I won’t bore you with any of that. What I can say about The Social Network is pretty simple: I LOVE this movie.
The Social Network combines one of my favorite directors (David Fincher) with one of my favorite writers (Aaron Sorkin) to create a masterpiece film that accentuates the strengths and signatures of both principals. The tone, lighting and texture are classic Fincher (with cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth) that we recognize from his previous work in Se7en and Fight Club. And that fast, snappy, punchy dialogue we love from Aaron Sorkin is alive and well in The Social Network. The very opening scene was vintage Sorkin. The actors are really talking about nothing. But you are so riveted to the rhythm of the words, what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. It’s like an Aaron Sorkin Greatest Hits scene.
Weaving back and forth through the Facebook timeline, The Social Network plays on a couple tracks concurrently—one track is about the creation of the site and the other track devoted to the active lawsuits against Zuckerberg. It’s vintage Sorkin, if you ask me. Just watch nearly any episode of The West Wing and you’ll see Sorkin’s fingerprints all over The Social Network.
It’s widely established and accepted that The Social Network is not a literal biography of the birth of the biggest thing on the Internet since the Internet. And that shouldn’t deter anyone from enjoying this movie. Biopics are rarely 100 percent true and accurate. That’s not a problem for me. The devil may be in the details, but the heart of telling a story is the emotion and reaction to the details. Besides, I would be $25 billion Mark Zuckerberg felt the way he’s depicted in the movie.
Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerberg was captivating. One part Rain Man, one part college doofus and a whole lot of pure genius. But I was more captivated by Justin Timberlake as Sean “Napster” Parker. Zuckerberg is so taken with Parker’s “dream big” persona he follows him to California to take Facebook to the next level. Zuckerberg’s founding partner Eduardo Saverin is unconvinced and untrusting of Parker’s intentions. And I don’t think Andrew Garfield is getting enough recognition for his portrayal of Saverin. While the Winklevoss twins are given the doofus treatment in the movie (but played remarkably well by Armie Hammer in both roles), Saverin comes out looking like the sympathetic friend who let his guard down long enough to get thrown under a bus.
The writing, acting, directing,cinematography—even a phenomenal score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) blend into a pitch perfect, engrossing film about the most important communication tool since the telephone. If you think that’s hyperbole, ask the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Bahrain and Libya how they’re mobilizing their revolutions. The Social Network is the best movie of 2010. And the Winklevoss twins are still gigantic, boat-rowin’ doofuses.
****-1/2 stars (out of 5)