When I saw the first preview for the movie The Social Network, I was one of the ones groaning. Seriously? A movie about Facebook? When I saw that it was being directed by David Fincher I was suddenly a lot more interested. I’ve always been a big fan of Fincher’s work, from Fight Club on. I got invited to attend a free screening of the movie and I am very, very glad I went. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie this fast-paced and entertaining that didn’t feature a bunch of explosions and gunplay.
This is a movie for fans of Facebook, fans of good screenplays, fans of good acting, good directing, good stories, and more. It’s also a movie for people who can’t stand Mark Zuckerberg and hate Facebook. He is made almost completely unlikable in the movie by Jesse Eisenberg, who continues to impress me with his acting. If you saw him in Zombieland you know that he was impossible not to like. But he made me squirm just about every time he opened his mouth in The Social Network. That seemed like the point, and the reason I couldn’t really root against him, either. His actions didn’t seem entirely under his control, as if he was just wired to be oblivious to anything but his own reality and impulses of the moment.
I know relatively little about Facebook’s CEO outside of this movie so I can’t count on the accuracy of the film’s portrayal. But if it is at all faithful to the reality of the man, we probably wouldn’t be pals, which I’m sure would not bother him in the slightest. Maybe. In the movie he craves attention and status above all else. He doesn’t seem to care about the money and he would rather be working on a laptop than celebrating at a party when his creation finally hits the one million members mark. But everything he does seems to drive people away from him, not towards.
What if you don’t know anything about Facebook?
Rest assured, they were able to make a movie about Facebook that will be just as fascinating to people who have never used the social networking site. My parents couldn’t be dragged onto FB for any reason, but I know they’ll love the movie. Mainly because I can’t figure out who wouldn’t enjoy the movie. It is that good. The dialogue is a blast to listen to, the music by Trent Reznor is perfectly suited to the mood, and as I mentioned, the pacing is as breakneck as a non-thriller can be.
If you don’t know the story, it centers on Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. The social network behemoth was created, according to the movie, as a retaliatory act after Zuck was spurned by the girl he was dating. He went back to his dorm, got drunk, and built a site that night that would allow people to rank the attractiveness of women. The web traffic that night is serious enough to crash Harvard’s network.
Unsurprisingly, the stunt raises the ire of the campus females, which is bad news for the status-obsessed Zuckerberg and his friend, Eduardo Severin, who was the co-founder of FB. Much of the movies’ tension results from Zuckerberg’s treatment of his best and only friend. Severin fronts the money for the startup, then contributes more later. He is eventually written almost entirely out of the Facebook empire, thanks to the character played by Justin Timberlake, the manipulative-in-the-movie founder of Napster, someone else I know almost nothing about in real life.
I liked Eduardo’s character a lot. The actor was wonderful and the worse things got for him due to Zuck’s insensitivity/selfishness/ambition/social-disorder?…Zuckerber thinks nothing of constantly asking Severin for more money, then berating him when he suggests that they might want to monetize the site.
The backstory is interspersed with scenes of the depositions in which Zuckerberg was being sued in two separate lawsuits involving intellectual property theft. I won’t spoil exactly who is sitting in those meetings with the accused, but they were all wonderful parts of the movie.
I have so much more to say about the movie, but I’m going to give it some time and think about it. If I had a ratings system I would give it the highest rating possible. Since I don’t, I’ll just repeat that I loved it and could recommend it to anyone.
Anyone seen it yet? Thoughts?
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