DIRECTOR: David Fincher
May Contain Spoilers!
Wow, just isn’t the word for this. Screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin speaking about writing this, claimed that even though it revolved around the creation of Facebook, this wasn’t really about the social network. This was about its troubled creator, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his relationships with the few who could bear to close to him.
It is really about Zuckerburg’s lack of real life social networking ability and that the 21st centuries social revolution was spurred on by a man with not a single, true friend in the world, having destroyed his only real friendship, with Facebook’s co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, brilliantly played by Andrew Garfield in a stand out performance.
That’s not to sell any member, and I mean any member of the cast, short and this was an actor’s film, expertly directed by Fincher as well as being one of the definitive collaborations with a screenwriter, in the form of Sorkin. The script is up to the usual excellent standards of Sorkin’s works and kudos to Fincher for managing to direct with theatrical flare a 120 minutes of intense dialogue.
And this cohesion was never more evident that in the Zuckerberg opening act, as he creates Facemash, a site designed to compare “hot and not” girls on Harvard’s campus, after a typical Sorkin penned break up scene that will certainly raise a chuckle or two. This led to what was effectively an academic action sequence where Zuckerberg explained his thought processes and methods of hacking and programming as he, in the course of few hours, whilst hurting, drunk and blogging, creates what would now be a bog standard Facebook app.
The styles of this film are pitch perfect, from the direction, performances and structure with Sorkin’s ability to manage a story which is told from the viewpoints of two deposition rooms at separate times and the early days of Facebook’s genesis in 2004, without losing the plot, literally is genius, as was Fincher’s ability to bring that to the screen without US losing it.
It moved me, made me laugh, especially with scene with Zuckerberg’s other rivals, the Winklevoss’ or “Winklevie” (Arnie Hammer) as he refers to them, as they claim that he stole Facebook from them, in a meeting with Harvard’s president, he promptly laughs the budding Olympic rowers out of his office in one of the most comedic moments in the film. The performances are perfect and this film defiantly impresses more on second viewing when you have more time to take in the nuances of both the performances and the devilishly smart script.
The Social Network refuses to take a position on the truth, instead presenting all sides of the argument as they are, which is spot on in my opinion. The facts are the facts and what was or wasn’t said in private conversations in neither here nor there, but the facts are presented in this film for us to digest but who had rights to Facebook are not really the point.
The point is that Mark Zuckerberg invented the ultimate Social Network and he is a man driven by the same needs are you or I, the need to impress those around us and in his case, the woman who got away (Rooney Mara). The only person who comes out looking truly bad in this film though is Shawn Parker, the self styled “Entrepreneur” and inventor of Napster.
He is portrayed as a sleazy manipulator ironically by Justin Timberlake, and very well might I add, as he pushes Mark to take step after step to push the eponymous Social Network to new heights.
In the end, this was a masterful film, crafted to the highest standards, but Facebook and its revolution, is just a baby, not even ten years old. But the simplicity of the story does give us plenty of breathing room in favour of the complexity of its telling.
Not an ounce of screen time is wasted. The pace is perfect and the complexity of the story is not limited to the mere facts or legalisms, rather the psyche of those who have changed the world by rethinking the way interact, yet they can’t even get on with each other! But that final scene in which Zuckerberg is trying to befriend his ex-girl friend on his own site is touching, real and a testament to the truth behind this social revolution. In the end, it has changed nothing.
N.B. The majority of this review was posted 17th February 2011, where upon my first first viewing, I rated it 8/10. On further viewings I have re-evaluated it and rated it 10/10. This is a quote from the original review: “…But having said all that, this should be a 10/10, but even though it did everything right, what it failed to do was to fully engross me.” I don’t know what I was thinking but clearly, I was almost right. Trust me, this is a top rated movie and Fincher has done it again!