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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Review: The Social Network (12A) ★★★★
A chronicle of the founding of Facebook, the social-networking Web site.


Facebook. Good or bad? The majority of people I assume would say good but a decent amount would surely say bad. The same can be asked of it's creator, Mark Zuckerberg, on which the movie is based. Is he a good or bad guy. Well The Social Network paints a very negative picture of Mr Zuckerberg which makes the whole thing so darn interesting.

Right from the outset the film depicts Zuckerberg as a very un-likeable person. Someone who likes the sound of his own opinionated voice and whose beliefs, be they right or wrong, are always correct. In an ironic way a very unsocial man. The opening scene where he is in discussion with his girlfriend is a painful watch, you ask yourself how could this girl ever fall for this pretentious prick? Well its the outcome of the opening scene that leads us straight into the first iteration of Facebook.

After being dumped by his girlfriend Zuckerberg heads back to his dorm room and proceeds to create a hot or not site which rates university girls based on their looks. Due to the interest in this site he manages to crash Harvards servers and incur the wrath of the university board. It's because of this publicity he's 'hired' by the Winklevoss Twins to create a social network site for them. He accepts but instead of following through with it decides to create his own site, calling it The Facebook. The rest as they say, is history. Facebook grows, and grows along with Zuckerbergs arrogance and bank balance.

The film plays out a timeline that intersects the birth and growth of Facebook and the ongoing lawsuits that have been filed against Zuckerberg by the Winklevoss Twins (stealing their idea) and Facebook's co-founder Eduardo Saverin. It's this too and fro style that keeps you engaged, although you ultimately know Facebook will become huge it still doesn't stop you wondering what's going to happen next.

People may have been put off by a 'Facebook Movie' but they needn't have worried, in David Fincher's hands and with Aaron Sorkin's script it's moulded into an intricate 
exposé of one of the most successful young men of recent times. That said it's not just Finchers show, The Social Network owes alot to the two leads, Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield.

Eisenberg is just perfect in this role. Sure he's played geeks before but nothing as refined and terrifyingly cold as Zuckerberg. I can't rate his performance highly enough here, he makes Zuckerberg just so confident yet vulnerable that at times you wonder if there is a split personality thing going on. If there is a defining point in Eisenbergs career it'll be this movie and this role, it shows that this guy has talent and isn't just another Michael Cera clone. Garfield plays Eduardo as the perfect counter foil to Zuckerberg's arrogance. Eduardo financially supports Zuckerberg throughout the early years but as the site grows he gradually gets left behind, Garfield acts his chops off during this and although he see's what's coming his firm belief in friendship is his own downfall. Garfield's stock continues to rise, he's the new spiderman and that's some gig, and his work on The Social Network is someone well within form. A special mention also to Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker (founder of Napster) who surprises and takes on the role of manipulator very, very well.

So strong direction, excellent leads and a great script (which does take certain artistic liberties) make this a solid film and one which is more than worth a watch. Just make sure you 'facebook' about it the next day.


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