Admit it. When you first heard that they were going to make a movie about Facebook, you thought it was going to suck too. I certainly did.
But throw in Fight Club director David Fincher, producer Kevin Spacey and The West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin, base it around a nonfiction book by Ben Mezrich (who shot to fame with Bringing Down the House, which was made into the movie 21), and cast a bunch of young rising stars, and The Social Network suddenly becomes one of the best films of the year.
It is probably important to note upfront that accuracy of specific events may not have been a priority for screenwriter Sorkin when he wrote The Social Network, so don’t watch the film believing it to be entirely true. However, we do know for a fact that certain things did happen. We know that Mark Zuckerberg, a former Harvard student, created ‘Thefacebook’, a phenomenal social networking site that now has more than 500 million active members around the world. We also know that he was sued by a few people — the identical Winklevoss twins for allegedly ripping off their idea, and his former best friend Eduardo Saverin, who Zuckerberg completely screwed over.
That’s all I’ll say about the plot, but believe me when I say it is a cracker. The tone is set in the very first scene. The characters are fascinating. The relationships are compelling. The dialogue is razor sharp. And it’s surprisingly funny too.
Jesse Eisenberg is brilliant as Zuckerberg. He is mesmerizing to watch, and really makes you believe Zuckerberg is a genuine prick. While Justin Timberlake has received mixed reviews as Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster, some believe he is being tipped for a Best Suppporting Actor Oscar nomination. Personally, I don’t think it weas an Oscar-worthy performance, but it was very good, and definitely better than what anyone was expecting.
The rest of the ensemble cast was terrific too. The standout for me was the new Spiderman Andrew Garfield (Saverin), who grows on you as the film progresses. But I really can’t poke a hole in any of the performances. I think in years to come, The Social Network will be remembered as a classic that featured actors who went on to become superstars. It’s already got Eisenberg and Garfield and Timberlake (all of whom should go on to bigger roles), not to mention Rooney Mara, Hollywood’s new Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Armie Hammer, who plays both the Winklevoss twins, was hilarious, a great contrast to their more serious business partner Divya Narendra, played by Max Mingella (son of the late and great Anthony). Even Brenda Song, who has a small role as Saverin’s girlfriend, was dynamite in a couple of scenes.
The Social Network is captivating drama at its best, and I’ve already seen it twice.
4.5 stars out of 5