The Social Network: A Generational Ode Deserving of a ‘Like’

1 10 2010

“The Facebook Movie.” The movie Facebook doesn’t ‘Like’. The unauthorized, true/untrue story of Mark Zuckerberg. However you want to look at it, David Fincher’s The Social Network has people talking. With a built-in appeal to the Facebook generation, the high caliber cast and crew lend a sizable amount of credibility, making The Social Network an enjoyable movie for even the least tech savvy among us. Here’s the breakdown:

Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard sophomore, has an idea. That idea is Facebook, a social networking site that now has over 500 million members in 207 countries. But was it really his idea? The Social Network chronicles Mark’s journey from geeky college student to world’s youngest billionaire.

The Monkey: Aaron Sorkin’s script is razor sharp and nearly perfect. From the brilliant dialogue to the inter-cut legal scenes, Sorkin is a shoe-in for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination, if not the win. David Fincher’s direction was masterful, even if it was a bit understated. The score, by Nine Inch Nails front-man Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was amazing – the brooding bass and modern beats complimented the film perfectly.

With Sorkin’s script acting as a solid skeleton, the impressive cast fleshed out The Social Network admirably. Jesse Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg with just the right mix of jerk and naiveté. This has to be one of the trickiest roles to play – Zuckerberg does not come out looking too good in this movie, yet Eisenberg was able to make him a sympathetic character. In the end, the audience doesn’t know whether to like Zuckerberg or hate him, which is the point – and Eisenberg pulled off this ambiguity flawlessly.

But the real star of The Social Network was Andrew Garfield as Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. Garfield emanated charisma and his screen presence is astounding. While I’m still unsure if he was the right pick for Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the upcoming reboot, his stellar performance in The Social Network has my interest piqued. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Garfield nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar.

This film could have easily succumbed to pop culture references and teen-oriented Facebook-isms. But instead, The Social Network stands out as a movie, first and foremost, about friendships and the things that get in the way of those friendships. It’s a movie about the people who created Facebook, not Facebook itself.

The Weasel: Fincher maintains a clipped pace through the first half of the movie, giving it an almost thriller-esque feel. Unfortunately, the driving plot loses ground halfway through, dragging, falling into vignettes and mini-chapters, all which feel disconnected and a bit forced. It’s as if the last half of the movie is striving to tie loose ends together in order to end on a specific, predetermined note. There were even times when it felt like the characters were mere accessories in a visual timeline of Facebook’s history, a real shame considering the brilliance of the film’s beginning.

The Social Network captures the very real and human story of this generation’s biggest technological phenomenon. Sure to be a hit during this year’s award season, expect to see this film earn several nominations and wins. It’s just too bad the pacing and plot lost its footing along the way.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Is The Social Network more fact or fiction? Does it matter? Does this movie change the way you look at Facebook? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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