Status update: The Social Network is brilliant…
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield & Justin Timberlake
Directed by: David Fincher
Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
The true story of Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook leading him to become the world’s youngest billionaire.
A film about the nerd who created Facebook and went on to become the world’s youngest billionaire hardly seems the ideal choice for director David Fincher. It’s talky, ultra-geeky and contains no notable action or anything particularly dark. However, Fincher showed with his last effort, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, he isn’t afraid to try something a bit different, and with The Social Network, Fincher has beautifully produced an intriguing insight into the most talked about online phenomenon from the past decade.
Ultimately its not Fincher’s direction that makes the biggest contribution to the picture but that doesn’t prevent him from superbly shooting a surprisingly exciting boat race sequence, and the way the film confidently switches between the past and the present is edited together with such precision, the narrative never becomes confusing.
It is Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and Jesse Eisenberg’s lead performance as Mark Zuckerberg that define the film. Sorkin’s rat-a-tat dialogue is an absolute joy to listen too and it is brilliantly established in the very first scene, where Zuckerberg manages to get himself dumped after throwing a string of insults at his girlfriend. From then on it flies off the page beautifully, especially in the boardroom hearing scenes in which the play on words is nothing short of majestic. Eisenberg, who speaks most of it, delivers on the promise he has shown in the likes of Adventureland and Zombieland. He nails the conflicted genius, never showing any sign of real emotion, he creates Facebook out of spite and also because – as Zuckerberg repeatedly states – it’s “cool”. Zuckerberg is isolated because he has no interest in the frenzy that follows his creation or indeed the potential business side to his website. Instead he is fully consumed by Facebook itself and Eisenberg captures all this effortlessly.
Eisenberg is backed up well; especially by a pleasingly good Justin Timberlake and who could have ever imagined Timberlake one day appearing in a David Fincher movie. But the former pop star has quietly been making a name for himself in Hollywood over the last few years. He is perfectly cast here as the seductive Napster founder Sean Parker, bringing plenty of energy and fun to proceedings as he helps Zuckerberg advance his creation. Meanwhile, Andrew Garfield as the co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin is desperately fighting to keep himself on board and increasingly fed-up with his former best bud’s actions. This means Garfield is given the main emotional bulk of the film and he proves himself very able to carry it, the only slight problem being that this is not a film that is easy to emotionally connect with.
When The Social Network reaches its conclusion it does feel a little unsatisfying because it’s not really a proper ending. Underlying themes about the real Mark Zuckerberg aren’t really dealt with; is this guy a manipulator, a rip-off artist or perhaps both. And what about the repercussions of his creation? Instead the film closes with Zuckerberg obsessively awaiting a friend confirmation on his Facebook page but still with the same look on his face, void of any emotion and as the attorney just seconds before tells him “You’re not an asshole, Mark. Just someone who’s trying too hard to be an asshole”… in it’s own way is a perfect summarization.