The Social Network ****


“The Social Network” is a mesmerizing film.  It is a wonder that David Fincher could take the story about the creation of Facebook and turn it in to a rather thrilling and brilliant film.  The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin is razor sharp and fascinating.  The performances are all some of the best you will see this year.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the central figures that created the massively popular social networking website called Facebook.  The movie portrays him as a person who can stare in to the lines of code on a computer seemingly manipulate them to do whatever he wants.  In the opening moments we find Mark getting dumped by his girlfriend at a local pub near Harvard where he attends school. 

The back and forth between himself and his girlfriend pretty much sets the tone for the whole film.  After she dumps him he heads back to his dorm room and creates a website that compares women to farm animals and blogs some pretty nasty words about his ex.  The site becomes so flooded with activity so fast that it crashes part of Harvards network.  As a result mark is put on six months of academic probation.

This catches the eye of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who are identical twins and members of Harvard’s rowing team.  They recruit him to help them create their own social networking site called The Harvard Connection.  Over the course of the next two months he seemingly leads them on while setting up his own website called The Facebook.  His friend Eduardo Saverin finances the whole project. 

Now as we all know Facebook becomes a billion dollar phenomenon and Mark ends up in a few different law suits.  The whole movie cuts back and forth between the scenes of depositions and scenes depicting Zuckerberg’s days at Harvard.

Zuckerberg is played here by Jess Eisenberg.  Eisenberg has played pretty harmless or clueless characters until now.  Here is portrays Zuckerberg as too smart for his own good.  He is not interested in money or girls but in his work. 

Two other key performances in the film are by Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake.  Garfield plays Saverin as a loyal and supportive friend who seemingly gets royally stabbed in the back.  Timberlake is a real revelation here as Sean Parker the creator of Napster.  He hooks up with Zuckerberg and shows him how to really take advantage of the rising popularity of Facebook.

Now besides the amazing dialogue, the film itself is visually stunning.  Fincher has such a great eye for how a film should look and feel.  The scenes taking place on Harvard really make it seem like it’s own world.  A place where only a select few are aloud in.  That is kind of what Facebook is like.  A place where everyone can create their own exclusive club. 

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