The Social Network [8.7/10]

Year : 2010 | Genre :  Biography, Drama, History
Director : David Fincher |  Writers : Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Ben Mezrich (book)
With: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

If you are familiar with David Fincher you've probably been excited about this film long before its release. Fincher's achievements in directing movies like “Se7en", "Fight Club”, “Zodiac” or “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, turned "The Social Network" into one of the most anticipated films of 2010. Being a Fincher fan myself, I went to the cinema with very high expectations, even though the idea of the movie confused me. I am pleased to report that my expectations were greatly exceeded. In fact, I would say that this is one of his best works to date. 

Even though I have a Facebook account, I almost never use it, except maybe once a month or so - to accept friend requests from people who are complete strangers. This movie manages to make the concept of "Facebook" fascinating, even to people who, like me, have absolutely no interest in Facebook.
Also, I don't understand computer science. Whenever I got to watch someone from IT fix something on my PC or correct errors and make updates in different software programs, it always seemed to be "really complicated stuff". The writing of codes looked to me like complete gibberish. This movie manages to make computer programming fascinating, even to people who, like me, have absolutely no idea about computer programming.

I mentioned that the subject of the film confused me. "A movie about the founding of Facebook ? Seriously ?! Who on earth would be interested in that?!". And this is why the movie is brilliant. Because it takes an idea that sounds trivial and dull and horribly complicated (at least to anyone who's not a computer scientist), and turns it into something insightful, captivating and very easy to comprehend. 

The movie stars the undeniably talented Jesse Eisenberg, who plays with absolute dedication the role Mark Zuckerberg. He creates Facebook in 2004, from his dorm-room at Harvard, with the help of three fellow classmates. He does it because of a girl. He becomes the world's youngest billionaire. 
But the story is not just about this speed-talking, socially-awkward, computer programming prodigy and his transition from a regular college nerd to a world famous nerd. It is also a story of friendship, loyalty and betrayal ... and how a  years-long bond between two best friends gets broken by an idea - which rapidly grows into a business and gets immensely successful too fast for them to adapt. Zuckerberg doesn't understand the rules of friendship very well. Actually, he doesn't understand relationship rules in general. But he understands computer programming, and, most importantly, he understands patterns and has the ability to link them to the compulsion of human nature, thus creating a product that is highly addictive. 

His best friend Eduardo (embodied by Andrew Garfield) doesn't understand none of that. He doesn't have Mark Zuckerberg's brain. What he has is money. Which he puts into Facebook because he believes in Mark's intellect, but more than that, because he believes in their friendship. If Mark was the brain of Facebook, Eduardo was, without a doubt, its heart. 

We are later introduced to Sean Parker, the creator of Napster and the most complex character in the film, played (to nauseating perfection) by Justin Timberlake. He masterfully evokes a sexy, charismatic, exuberant, testosterone-charged "party-guy" who is at the same time a computer genius AND a highly skilled entrepreneur who will turn Facebook into a money machine. It was a very challenging role to play and (probably to your surprise) Justin Timberlake made the absolute best of it. I think this is about the third film I've seen him in that made me conclude he was born to be a talented, tall, handsome ACTOR (get my drift, Timberlake?). 

Also memorable are the twin brothers Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss who are filing a lawsuit claiming that Facebook was their idea. The performances are so good I did not realize that both of them were played by the same actor (Armie Hammer) until I saw the credits.

Structurally, the movie skips back and forth between the present day, when the Zuckerberg lawsuit depositions take place, and flashbacks of how Facebook was created. Even though the script *should be* half lawyer-talk and half computer-talk, you will not be subjected to any techno-babble. The dialogues are clear, making the plot easy to understand while still remaining richly intelligent (and I am still amazed how well they managed to do this).

"The social Network" is a lot of things. "A silly Facebook movie" is definitely not one of them. If you let yourself be put off by the apparent subject of the plot, you'll be missing out on a superb film.


My overall rating : 8.7 / 10

Rating per categories, 10 being maximum of points and 1 being minimum :

Directing : 9
Script : 9.5
Plot and Storyline : 8
Cinematography and visuals: 8
Characters and acting : 9


Arthur Reeder said...

I must add, as a huge computer geek the film is one of the most accurate I've seen to date. Everything from the technology they used to the versions of software available circa 2004. I hate movie that portray computers as magical.

Dope Daddy said...

Awesome review, as always :-)

Harriot said...

and David Fincher did it again, a great movie. Nice review, I m waiting to see more reviews.

AntiBullshitMan said...

Didn't hear about this movie until I read this, and now I wanna see it. Had I seen the preview instead, I just know I'd have instantly dismissed it. Good review dare.

tritisan said...

Best film I've seen this year. I loved how FAST everyone talked, like they used to in the movies of the 1940s.

SamKam said...

You were bemoaning Hollywood's plan to remake "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", but Fincher is directing that one. Perhaps that gives you some hope . . . ?

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