Review: The Social Network

In one of the first official reviews of The Social Network, Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) described the film as “the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines a decade.”  Truer words have never been spoken, and not only does The Social Network brilliantly define a decade, it goes even further by brilliantly defining a generation.

Simply put: The Social Network is a genuine masterpiece, that’s more than just a film about Facebook.  The popular website, which changed a generation, is merely the backdrop for a tale of friendship, acceptance, greed, back-stabbing and power trips.

Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s ‘The Accidental Billionaires’, The Social Network is written to complete perfection by Aaron Sorkin  and brought to life under the direction of David Fincher, whom together garner exceptional performances from a phenomenal ensemble cast.  Despite having young stars like Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake (yes, Justin Timberlake) attached to the project, the real star of the film is undoubtedly Sorkin’s script.  Fast paced and riddled with words that only computer programming nuts would understand, the audience is immediately drawn in by Sorkin’s opening dialogue which features Eisenberg and Rooney Mara.  It’s through this powerful and rapid fire exchange that the audience is formally introduced to Sorkin’s writing genius, and from that point on the energy never dies.

It’s also through this exchange that we are introduced to Eisenberg’s portrayal of then Harvard student turned billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, a performance that will mesmerize you.  For two hours  Eisenberg is Zuckerberg, and there is never a question of validity.  It takes guts and talent to portray such an unlikeable character, but Eisenberg executes and delivers a flawless performance that will have you hating him for most of the film, and then feeling sorry for him in the final frames.  And speaking of hating characters throughout the film, there’s no one more detestable than Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker who’s introduced in the middle of the film.

Naysayers beware– Timberlake is beyond amazing in this film and there’s officially nothing this man can’t do.  He may not win the Oscar (though a nod is highly likely)  for his portrayal of Sean Parker but if he continues to dish out performances of this caliber, a little gold man is inevitable.  He’s makes for the perfect antagonist in a film where everyone is an equal candidate for the job.  Frankly speaking, no one in the film is truly likable and if there were a protagonist it would no doubt be Eduardo Saverin, portrayed beautifully by Andrew Garfield.  As Zuckerberg’s only friend, Saverin is the warmth of a film that’s meant to be cold.  He’s the heart of it all and without him, the audience would have been completely detached.

Direction wise, David Fincher has never been better.  From the jump, the idea of a Facebook movie seemed silly but under the direction of Fincher an idea that once seemed silly becomes strangely compelling, and a brilliant work of art. Everything from the fast paced scenes, which never stay in the same setting for longer than a minute, and the dark hues used to set the melancholy tone of the film, all have Fincher’s signature on it.  Ten years ago Fincher created a cult classic with Fight Club, and The Social Network will assuredly be a classic for a whole new generation.

The Social Network truly defines the  socially inept generation we live in, while also shining light on where we were before this “once in a lifetime idea”, as Sean Parker puts it in the film, consumed us all.  Furthermore,  it’s a really amazing transition to see throughout the film, how one man’s need for validation led to a social revolution and forever changed the way most people communicate with each other, but most importantly how his need for validation led to the demise of his only friendship.  It’s a complex, almost Shakespearean type tale that only David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin could pull off, and with the help of a great ensemble cast and a beautifully haunting score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross,   it’s safe to say that they’ve accomplished that task.

My grade: 9.5/10

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