Directed by David Fincher
Written by Aaron Sorkin and Ben Mezrich
On general release from 15th October 2010
The phenomenon of modern technology has escalated over the past couple
of decades but it is the internet which has proved to be the big stepping
stone towards global success. However in 2003, a young, problematic student
at Harvard University named Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea to create
one of the most used websites in the computer age – Facebook –
and make it a sensation across the world. But from then on, Zuckerberg
was to encounter many obstacles along his journey to becoming the world's
youngest billionaire, which would mainly include betrayal and lawsuits.
The story of how Facebook was created is adapted onto the big screen
by renowned director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) and writer Aaron
Sorkin, and emerges as one of the films of the year. With a solid cast,
a masterful script and a production that should gain support from anyone
involved with Facebook, including myself.
The desire of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Einsenberg) to create Facebook back
in 2003 is triggered by him being dumped by his girlfriend Erica (Rooney
Mara). She struggles to cope with his idealistic opinions about Harvard,
resulting in him taking payback on her by posting a blog ridiculing her
personality. This allows him to begin setting up an online social networking
site originally titled Facesmash, to allow fellow Harvard users to create
profiles of themselves.
With the help of best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), the pair
finally begins to improve the website with crucial changes such as friend
requests, wall posts and relationship statuses, and soon the site becomes
an overnight success. But ultimately there are complications to that success
with Zuckerberg facing legal action from twins based in Harvard who initially
came up with the idea of a website similar to Facebook, and would make
accusations that Zuckerberg stole their idea.
However, the website however continues to gain users, not just from universities
but from around the world. Ultimately, the arrival of a fellow internet
entrepreneur named Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) was to cause complications
with the friendship between the young billionaire and his co-founder Eduardo,
leading to a more personal legal battle between the pair. Nevertheless
there is nothing to stop the global achievement that is Facebook, but
it still impacts on the two people who made it all possible.
Many people will think The Social Network is about Facebook but in reality
it isn't. It's about Mark Zuckerberg and the people associated with him
and the consequences that occur with the evolution of Facebook. It's about
friends being driven apart due to money and betrayal as seen through Zuckerberg
and Saverin's fallout.
What makes the film so brilliant is an impeccable script by Aaron Sorkin
and from the first scene of Zuckerberg being dumped by Erica to the last
shot, the dialogue is just witty and so well written, one of the best
scripts in recent years. In particular, the way the characters interact,
e.g. Zuckerberg is never quite capable of shutting up and Eduardo always
stops just short of explicating his emotions.
Director David Fincher also does a great job keeping the audience captivated
at a considerable pace. It is completely different to his previous work,
but is still another fabulous piece of work from him. Fincher also has
the advantage of casting young actors, rather than major Hollywood actors,
to step out of their comfort zones and deliver some truly phenomenal work
which is justified by the performances of the three main actors. Jesse
Einsenberg plays Zuckerberg as a cold, simplistic and determined genius,
who knows what he wants, is very confident and will stop at nothing to
His friend turned rival Eduardo is played with warmth and sympathy by
British actor Andrew Garfield (recently cast as the new Peter Parker/Spiderman).
That bromance is the heart of The Social Network and keeps the emotional
factor of the film together. The big surprise though is pop diva turned
actor Justin Timberlake, who plays Sean Parker as smooth yet smarmy as
he comes into the film halfway and makes a big impact. The rest of the
mainly unknown cast have their chance to shine as well, with shiny-eyed
Rooney Mara showing her impact in two key scenes of the film - small but
effective. This is also the latest Fincher film to feature great technical
ability, with the editing side a crucial aspect as well as a riveting
score (the end credits song spot on for a film about wealth).
Though this is a monumental film, there are a couple of big flaws that
deny it the five star rating. The fact/fiction debate is something to
dwell on especially with regards to the fallout between Zuckerberg and
Severin, and whether the Erica character existed (possibly as a ploy for
the emotional factor behind Zuckerberg's determination). The subject of
women however is what leads to the controversy of the film, particularly
with how they are presented. While Erica's character speaks the truth,
the other females are shown as sexually obsessed and seedy, e.g. Parker's
girlfriend parading around in a shirt and thong.
The Social Network is very compelling and it certainly keeps your attention
all the way through, which is no small task considering the subject matter
and the fact that it's all depositions and flashbacks. It is undoubtedly
the Citizen Kane of our generation. But even with a stark portrayal of
women and a segment of the film being fiction, this is one of the early
contenders for the Oscars and from me certainly, this film deserves recognition
and gets a "like" from me!