The Social Network
Directed by David Fincher
Released October 1, 2010
Those unfamiliar with or actionably against the notion of Facebook shouldn’t fear that they will feel out of touch with or disinterested in this film. Stars Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, director David Fincher, and writer Aaron Sorkin acknowledge that they have barely ever used the social networking site, and less famous star Andrew Garfield admits that he used to be a typical user but has since broken free. This isn’t a film that tries to be clever by mimicking the workings of the site in its storytelling; instead, it’s a brilliant portrait of a whole host of high-achieving everymen with a competitive interest in creating the next big thing.
Sorkin, the creator of “The West Wing,” has, more than anyone else, left his distinct imprint on this film. The first scene includes purely dialogue and apparently consisted of nine pages acted out in a mere four and a half minutes, using Eisenberg and future Americanized “Girl with the Dragon Tatttoo” star Rooney Mara spouting off Sorkin dialogue in signature speedy fashion. The film doesn’t proceed forward at an alarmingly or even recognizably quick pace, but so much plot is impressively packed into a mere two hours that encompasses 160 script pages.
The cast, like the script, is entirely excellent. Eisenberg’s nebbishy, nervous attitude makes him the perfect person to play the pompous yet likeable Mark Zuckerberg. Timberlake is actually terrific as Napster founder Sean Parker, and Garfield, who will soon be just as well known as his costars when he stars in the “Spider-Man” film reboot, is simply fantastic as the moral center of the film, Zuckerberg’s partner, Eduardo Saverin. The smaller roles are also shrewdly cast, starting with Mara in the film’s opening scene as Zuckerberg’s girlfriend and highlighted by Armie Hammer as twin rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Most astutely, they all work successfully with Sorkin’s script and respond well to Fincher’s direction, crafting an extremely on-the-ball and memorable ensemble.
“The Social Network” is a movie that’s rousingly entertaining, witty, and undeniably enjoyable. Its story is filled with despicable characters, all of whom don’t seem to comprehend their self-absorbedness, and it’s that very obliviousness to the way others perceive them that makes the experience such a blast. The film simultaneously follows Zuckerberg as he is sued separately by former friend Saverin and the Winklevoss wonder twins while chronicling Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook, and it’s incredibly revealing to see the depositions occur while being privy to as much as can be speculated about what really happened in the run-up to the lawsuits. It may not be an authorized biography or the straight truth, but it would be near impossible for the real story to be as fantastically written or spectacularly presented as this.