By Vaishaal Shankar
Director David Fincher illustrates the classical tale of heartbreak, friendship, and betrayal wrapped around the tumultuous beginnings of Facebook in The Social Network.
The film opens with the to-be facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg (Jesse Eisenberg) losing the girl of his dreams solely due to his crass, arrogant attitude. Motivated by the drive to win her back Zuckerburg begins his ascent into fame by starting what will become Facebook with the help of his best (and only) friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). The film then follows the roller coaster ride that accompanies success, spanning from late night drinking in San Francisco nightclubs to law suit depositions in Palo Alto courtrooms.
What elevates this movie from the run of the mill drama is not the subject but the extraordinary screenplay; the film could very well have discussed the invention of oatmeal and it would have still held its class. Aaron Sorkin is masterful in the way he orchestrates the dialogue, each character holds his own in the fast talking, high intellect world drawn up by Fincher and Sorkin. The casting is excellent all around. Eisenberg in particular takes on the character of an arrogant genius shockingly well– it serves as a stark departure from his previous “quassi-Michael Cera” characters.
The film did seem to drag towards the last third, which might have been due to sheer mental fatigue that resulted from processing the nonstop witty banter. Though the fast paced dialogue serves a as good fit to the subject matter, it may narrow the target audience, as it takes a considerable degree of mental acuity just to follow the conversations on screen.
Despite the movie’s few shortcomings, the Fincher/Sorkin duo has produced a true work of art that not only recounts the beginnings of one of the cornerstones of the Internet but provides an insight into the inner workings of a genius and his true motivations. A must watch for anybody who has ever used Facebook.