Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Sony Pictures
Now Showing

Proving to be the perfect storm – a top director in David Fincher, a skilled writer in Aaron Sorkin, and rich subject matter (the founding of and subsequent battle for a multi-billion dollar company) – The Social Network is, if not the perfect film, then perhaps the closest thing to it we are likely to see in 2010.

From the cracking opening scene, where Mark Zuckerberg (a never better Jesse Eisenberg) is dumped by his college girlfriend (Rooney Mara, the future Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), following a rapid fire volley of cross-talk and insults, we know we're in good hands.

Fincher and Sorkin use this imagined dumping in 2003 as the impetus for Zuckerberg's creation of the social networking website that would change the world. Thankfully we're spared from too much programming talk as the film flashes forward and back between the two lawsuits Zuckerberg is involved in, both with regards to who really created Facebook.

“If you were the inventors of facebook, you would have invented facebook!” Zuckerberg tells one set of detractors, the Aryan-like Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (both expertly played by Armie Hammer, a body double and some seamless technology). The twins row crew at Harvard and contend that the idea for Facebook was theirs.

The plaintiff in the other case is Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), Zuckerberg's onetime best bud and the guy who ponied up the dough in the early days of the Facebook enterprise in the dorms of Harvard. Saverin is smarting from his brutal removal from the company, instigated we're lead to believe, by Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the creator of free music download site Napster. Parker seized on the potential of Facebook, encouraging (seducing, even) Zuckerberg to take it from a dorm room project to a billion dollar company.

Based on the Ben Mezrich book, The Accidental Billionares, Fincher and Sorkin have fashioned a wholly believable scenario of what may or may not have happened in the creation of Facebook and the subsequent legal battles. It's fiction so of course it's not entirely true, but it's one hell of a tale as told here.

Sorkin's writing, so good on TV's The West Wing, cracks and pops here and not just because it's spoken at 100 miles an hour. It's whip smart, pointed and full of quotable quotes. And Fincher, more noted as a visual and technical director, doesn't detract from those words. He gives them full credence whilst also utilising his own distinct style and examining themes his work often returns to: male relationships, power and, ultimately, human nature.

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