Movie Review: The Social Network

David Fincher’s The Social Network is not what you think it is: a whimsical tale of a young entrepreneur who forges a new means of social interaction.  The Social Network is an expertly crafted story of a young man understanding true friendship and what powers it can hold.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is a selfish mastermind who will do what it takes to achieve his personal goals. We first meet him in mid conversation with his girlfriend Erica, over drinks at a bar near Harvard University. Zuckerberg argues with her over the importance of his unstoppable yearning to better his dreary life by joining a Final Club. His remorseless comebacks dig at her skin until she finally calls it quits, both with her stay and their relationship. This event leaves Zuckerberg highly irritated as he  rushes back to his dormitory. Beer cracked open and laptop at his hands, he sneeringly updates his blog with harsh insults in an attempt to quell his rage. What he doesn’t know is that Erica’s fateful decision was the catalyst for the greatest anger-induced decision of his life.

After moments of contempt following his outcry comparing women to farm animals, he plans to quickly pull various photos of female students to satisfy his diabolical idea. Enter: Facesmash, a website serving one purpose: to let users compare the headshots of the women on the campus to ultimately decide which one was more attractive. The site quickly catches the attention of a multitude of guys on campus and the network security finds out. The devilishly witty Zuckerberg slides by with a mere 6 month academic probation. This debacle alerts the Winklevoss twins (both played by Armie Hammer) who have been looking for a partner to begin work on a site for Harvard. The site in question would let the college students post pictures and information about themselves, and eventually grow to include many other schools. Zuckerberg agrees to help them with their endeavor but begins brainstorming a way to make it his own. His first task was to recruit his best friend Eduardo Saverin to fund his idea. Over the next few months Zuckerberg creates the very first iteration of TheFacebook.

The Social Network knows what it’s doing and it doesn’t take anyone for granted.

During the creation of the website, the Winklevoss’ begin to doubt their decision. It isn’t long until TheFacebook goes live and the phrase “Facebook me” becomes a part of everyone’s vocabulary. Of course this catches the twins’ attention and they threaten to sue Zuckerberg for stealing their idea. This is the key moment that Zuckerberg realizes what he has plunged into, although he doesn’t let anyone know it. The events of the movie may not be completely real, but what follows is truly encapsulating.

Jesse Eisenberg is a perfect anit-hero in the same vein as a Jay Gatsby. He uses his friends and colleagues any way he can and somehow you can’t hate him for it. For such a complex role his performance is superb. Successfully managing to completely separate himself from the aptly used “Michael Cera-clone” title. I would be appalled if he doesn’t land a nomination for the true amount of work he put into making Zuckerberg’s character so diverse. The deposition scenes are the standouts of the film, you can tell he is annoyed and bored, but when they do manage to get him to talk the room is always left speechless. Everything he says makes a point, whether it’s a simple correction or to announce his interest in paying attention.

The tension and excitement rise higher and higher until it reaches a crest: the last 5 minutes.

Founder of Napster, and smooth talking fellow entrepreneur Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), steals the show after he is introduced. I never knew Timberlake could do such an ironic and lavish portrayal of Parker and his ability to pique Zuckerberg’s interests. From the beginning you know that his character is anything but a step in the right direction, but every time he is on-screen you can’t help but to be entranced with his attitude. He helps you connect a lot more with Zuckerberg in understanding his importance to the project. He’s got the mindset to become a billionaire but doesn’t make the right choices … except truncating “The” off of Facebook.

Facebook’s bankroll Eduardo, watches the chaos unfold and eventually ends up suing his best friend for everything. His friendship with Zuckerberg is so tight that when they refuse to even look at each other with lawyers beside them the true state of Facebook is prominent. Eduardo can be seen as the only one who stays conscious from Parker and Zuckerberg’s propaganda, but never admits it. He threw money at a good idea and watched himself get kicked to the wayside.

The Social Network knows what it’s doing and it doesn’t take anyone for granted. The tension and excitement rise higher and higher until it reaches a crest: the last 5 minutes. The movie moves along at pace that I would say is cinematic perfection. It also helps that Trent Reznor fills your ears with a brilliant soundtrack that keeps you alert through what would seem like boring segments. Aaron Sorkin’s writing cannot be described by words, it simply cannot be topped. I loved this movie, and I expected so. It’s definitely not for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a fun story about Facebook. It has been describes at a character drama by some critics and I think that fits well. Mark Zuckerberg isn’t a lovable guy and to some that may be surprising considering he conceived the biggest social network around. His long journey through socialization and greed was perfectly summed up by a junior lawyer just before leaving him typing away at his computer, “Mark, you’re not an asshole, you’re just trying too hard to be one.”

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