Today: February 21, 2024
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Social Network, The Cinema

The
poignant final shot of The Social Network features Mark Zuckerberg
(Eisenberg) repeatedly refreshing a friend request sent to his
ex-girlfriend in the vain hope that she’d accept it and therefore
forgive him for his earlier indiscretions. How ironic that the man
largely responsible for transforming the way people socialise and
interact is so social inept himself. Or at least, he’s portrayed as
that.

The Social Network may be largely known as ‘the Facebook movie’ but it’s actually a story about betrayal, jealously, spite and broken friendships which is expertly reigned in by director David Fincher.
It’s an adaptation of the recently released non-fiction novel The
Accidental Billionaires written by Ben Mezrich which notably, had no
input from Zuckerberg or any of his staff.

Whether the final product contains any accurate information about
the birth of Facebook has elicited countless newspaper articles but it
is largely irrelevant. The Social Network is two hours of nothing but
talk with a structured narrative that whips back and forth between the
website’s inception, to the numerous lawsuits Zuckerberg faced from
other students who claim he stole their idea and more interestingly
, Eduardo Severin (Garfield), the man who used to be his only friend.

After being dumped by his girlfriend Erica (Mara), Zuckerberg
returns to his dorm and vents via his blog while hacking into Harvard’s
computer system to create a webpage called ‘Facesmash’ in which people
are invited to choose who is the hotter out of two fellow, female
students. 22,000 hits later, Zuckerberg’s apparent talents attract
budding entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Minghella)
who hope he can help them launch a social website for Harvard students.
Zuckerberg apparently strings them along while creating ‘The Facebook’
with Severin and before the upperclassmen who think he’s working for
them realise what’s going on, the term “Facebook me” has already become
part of regular vernacular on the Boston campus.

From the opening scene which reportedly took 99 takes to get right, The Social Network is an utterly engrossing film that refuses to let go until the final credits.
Creator of The West Wing Aaron Sorkin has provided a tight, brilliant
script that never wastes a word and manages to throw a witty line to
keep the action alive even when you’re essentially watching people
arguing in a room.

Jesse Eisenberg has been slowly breaking out for years but this is
no doubt his star making performance as his tightly held lips and
frequently furrowed brow toys with the audience’s feelings toward him.
His overly confident smirk is annoying but when he scurries out of a
lecture after receiving a less than flattering message, it’s hard not to
pity his sad, and clearly hurt face. The only character who manages to
come out looking half decent is Severin who is pushed aside by his friend and Napster creator Sean Parker (brilliantly smarmy Timberlake)
who weasels his way in and seduces the naive Zuckerberg. It’s the
twisted relationships, playground games and unexpected turns that truly
make this story interesting because although Facebook may have changed
the way we interact, it certainly wasn’t the first of its kind.

How can a young man so clearly gifted with a brilliant mind be so
easily manipulated by cocktails, flash clubs and fast talking? Why is he
so driven by power but yet so seemingly uninterested by money, two
things that go hand in hand? Zuckerberg is clearly a fascinating
character and his insistence that this film has nothing to do with him
continues to intrigue but while the burned bridges of the founders may
have the ‘It’s Complicated’ relationship status, The Social Network is undeniably one of the best films of 2010.

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