Likes, interests, relationship status, exact location on the planet, each and every thought that pops into your head…some days it’s hard to remember a time when these were not things you posted on your Facebook wall.
In David Fincher’s film “The Social Network” we are reminded just how young this phenomenon still is.
In the first moments of this smart, fast-paced story, written by Aaron Sorkin and based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich,we meet an incredibly intelligent and well-spoken, but socially handicapped Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in the midst of a quick-witted conversation with his soon to be ex-girlfriend, Erica (Rooney Mara).
The banter suddenly takes a turn for the worst and Erica, a fictional yet fiery young lady, ends it with Zuckerberg and becomes the inspiration for the remainder of the plot, during which we see very little of her.
Clearly, but not admittedly upset by this unforeseen loss of girlfriend, Zuckerberg immediately sets out to find something to distract himself.
To think, if it happened today he could have just posted a snarky comment on her wall.
Unfortunately, these resources were not yet available. So like any Harvard computer programming student would do, he throws back a few and creates a program comparing the attractiveness of girls. Within a few hours, he manages to crash the university’s server.
And so it begins.
The plot itself jumps back and forth between the present, in which Zuckerberg finds himself in the middle of two law suits, and a rather subjective pasts, provided by testimonies from each of the proceedings.
The sides of these lawsuits and tellers of these tales, which we can assume all have some truths in them, are Zuckerberg; Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), Zuckerberg’s best and only friend/co-founder/former CFO of Facebook; and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer), the twin’s who claim Zuckerberg stole the idea behind Facebook from them.
There are no heroes or villains in this story. Although the “Winklevi” (don’t get me started) and latecomer to the Facebook party/Napster creator, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) make a valiant effort for the role.
But this movie isn’t really about right and wrong. It’s about human connection. It’s about the irony of the fact that the young man behind one of the biggest social innovations of our time keeps himself so very much to himself.
There’s no blame or preaching. The film only hints at the absurdity of the situation. So I’ll take the cue and skip the sermon (for now).
Not to say any one comes out of this smelling like roses either; however, they do all come out with some incredible dialogue. Even the most obscure characters have something to say and I challenge you to not listen.
The conversations in this film are fast, snappy and completely engrossing. I dare say, some land speed records were probably achieved by the tongues of these actors.
With all that talking you’re bound to miss something, but it doesn’t matter.
It’s hard (and yet not so difficult) to imagine saying this in regards to a movie about a computer programmer, but this is a film you will not only want to watch again, but you’ll probably need to in order to catch all of the dialogue.
The performances of this young cast are all raw and real, but the undisputed star is of course Eisenberg as Zuckerberg.
True, come Oscar night Mr. Firth will probably be leaving with that golden statue (deservedly), but Eisenberg’s introverted yet emotional portrayal in this movie is something to behold.
With an army of fast-talkers backing him up Eisenberg shines in this role.