Saturday, October 2, 2010

Movie Review - The Social Network

The Social Network - ****

Directed by: David Fincher

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

I have a fascination with being a part of living history. There is something communal and something intriguing about the idea of recounting where you were and what you were doing during a moment of history. There are many moments in history where you remember exactly where you were when a certain event happened. Perhaps it is this reason why this movie was so fascinating from start to finish. To think, Mark Zukerberg started college the same semester I did and he is now a multi billionaire, and I am....moving on. It was fun to try and recount where I was and what I was doing during the different scenes of the movie.

It is also fascinating to see what went on behind the scenes during the facebook revolution. I'm sure we can all recall the first time we logged in and set up our facebook account and recall how addicted most of us were in the beginning (or still are), but none of us had any idea how fast this website/company was truly moving and how it was defining a person who had been going through life without definition and destroying the rest of his personal world in the process.

Everyone knows Mark Zuckerberg is the creator of Facebook and most of us "remember hearing something" about how he was sued over it's creation. Well that is the center of this film, the creation of Facebook and the lawsuits that followed. The movie starts with Zuckerberg and his girlfriend at a bar where the conversation turns from bf/gf banter into the two of them breaking up. The breakup occurs after Zuckerberg goes off about getting into one of the exclusive "final clubs" at Harvard. We do not know anything about Zuckerberg's past that would give clues as to why he wants this so bad, just that he wants to be a part of one these clubs.

After the breakup, Zuckerberg has a new resolve, not only does he need to do something special to get noticed by the "final clubs" but he needs to do something to impress his girlfriend to get her back. In Zuckerberg's world, she did not break up with him because she didn't like him anymore, it had to be because he wasn't "special" enough to attract her. He had to fix this situation.

After a drunk night of blogging and hacking Zuckerberg had created, basically a Harvard only version of After seeing this Zuckerberg is tapped to create a website for a few fellow students, who happen to be members of one of the "final clubs" he wants to join. Seeing this as his way in, Zuckerberg agrees to do it immediately, which is to design a website he described as a " for Harvard." It is all these events that eventually lead to Zuckerberg's creation of "the facebook."

From there facebook takes off and Zuckerberg is a rockstar. This leads to him and his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) looking for ways to make some money off of their new uber popular website they end up meeting Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the creator of Napster. Zuckerberg is instantly enamored with Parker. Parker goes to all the great parties, gets with all the attractive ladies, and generally does a lot of cool stuff. This is EXACTLY what Zuckerberg wanted from being a member of the "final club," and ultimately Zuckerberg develops a man-crush on Parker. It ends up being the most expensive man-crush in history.

Zuckerberg begins to listen to Parker when he spews advice on how to run the business of facebook. Zuckerberg is a computer programmer and knows nothing of running a business. Even though Parker is broke and got fired by the companies he started, Zuckerberg thinks he still knows better and is in a position to be giving good advice. As their relationship grows stronger, his relationship with his best friend Eduardo becomes strained. Eduardo doesn't like Parker and thinks he has no business in their business and telling Zuckerberg how to run the business that he had funded up to that point.

You can see Zuckerberg's world slowly falling apart around him. It becomes amazing to realize that such a socially awkward young man can find himself building an empire of riches based on social status. Something that he never had, yet was his ticket to fame fortune. Zuckerberg struggles with the fact that all he wanted, more friends, is the one thing he gets less and less of the further along he goes with facebook. Inside his own head it would just make sense that as soon as you created something as amazing as facebook, all your problems would be solved. He would get his girlfriend back, he would have all sorts of friends, and he would have the money and exclusivity he craves. Zuckerberg's biggest downfall came in not being able to handle reality when things didn't go as planned.

This is what makes the movie great. Eisenberg's performance showing the transformation in Zuckerberg is a feat of subtle acting genius. You see the excitement in Eisenberg as his Zuckerberg and facebook rises in popularity and you see the pain he has to deal with in losing his best friend and finding himself with no friends and 500,000,000 friends all at the same time. Zuckerberg is too proud and cocky as of now to admit it, but I imagine in due time he will divulge that all he really wanted was to be "popular" and have a girlfriend and lots of friends. Even though he made all his wealth, he still never got what he wanted.

I could not have been more impressed with this film. As aforementioned, Zuckerberg's performance was phenomenal and his was matched by great turns from Garfield and Timberlake. After the opening scene I thought this movie had Aaron Sorkin (the writer) written all over it. Sorkin, while a good writer, sometimes has the tendency to be overly wordy and the actors become more concerned with getting all the words out there, than actually acting the part. After the first scene I thought the entire movie was gonna be like this, yet after that scene my fears were relinquished. From that point the rest of the movie was all David Fincher.

You wouldn't think such a movie would be intense but with the sold writing and tour de force directing from Fincher, it is very intense and keeps your attention through the entire runtime. Everything about this movie was done perfectly and, as such, it is DEFINITELY worth your time.

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