The Social Network – Movie Review

We are living in a time when Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest men in the world, and one of the hottest tv shows is The Big Bang Theory. Nerds and geeks are not only cool, they rule. The phenomenon is less true in the movie world, but The Social Network fixes that. Its rapid fire dialogue (from West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin), zeitgeist-friendly style (courtesy of Se7en and Fight Club auteur David Fincher), and some excellent performances from Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield (pre-Spider-man) and Justin Timberlake just might be bringing Oscar lustre to super-geekdom.

I’m not sure how much of this movie is true to the real life of Harvard wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg (aka the creator of social networking megasite Facebook). The events of the film focus mainly on what happens to Mark and his cohorts around the time if Facebook’s creation and rapid rise. Zuckerburg is portrayed as insecure, conceited, brilliant and spiteful. Screenwriter Sorkin gives Eisenberg many great scenes to deliver, especially during the deposition sequences. These legal scenes were very cleverly used: not only serving as a simple way to fill in the gaps, but by being allowed to sit in on the testimonials, the audience is invited to judge the parties involved as well. Was Zuckerberg motivated by his own ego? Did he betray his friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin? Did the Winklevoss twins deserve any credit for the creation of Facebook? The movie makes suggestions, but it dances around all those questions.

Speaking of the Winklevoss twins, I was amazed when the credits rolled to find that two men had the face of a single actor, Armie Hammer. Another actor played the body of the second twin on which CGI was used to place Hammer’s face. I guess after reverse-aging Brad Pitt from eighty to infancy in Benjamin Button, Fincher wouldn’t find faking a set of twins to be too challenging.

Anyway, whether he was right or wrong, I found myself enjoying a lot of sympathy for Zuckerberg in this movie, and I was riveted (in a way that I haven’t been in for a long time — at least not in a movie without imminent danger or suspense) throughout, eager to learn the fate of each of these people/characters. If it’s a sign of anything, watching The Social Network even made me want to rejoin Facebook — almost. (4.5 out of 5)

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