The Social Network stars Jesse Eisenberg who plays Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in his college days at Harvard less than a decade ago. When we meet him it is difficult to believe that he was working on a multibillion dollar idea. At the time Zuckerberg was more concerned with girls and joining exclusive fraternities than developing his unrealized potential.
The origin of Facebook begins when three students approach Zuckerberg to design a social network site for fellow Harvard students. He then enlists financial help of his best friend named Eduardo Saverin, played by Andrew Garfield. As soon as the new site is launched, the battle for control of Facebook begins.
I went into this film very sceptical about how this subject matter could translate into film. And then I realized that the film is more about control, both financial and influential over the social network website that claims over 500 million members. This is where screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher get it right.
The Social Network plays out more like a sequel to Wall Street. The film’s great strength is its compelling drama. Fincher shot the film in short scenes that transition flawlessly one to the next. The screenplay packs several good lines that act as comedic relief. But what works best is the tension that unfolds in front of your eyes.
The performances are terrific all around, particularly Jesse Eisenberg who was nominated for Best Actor, losing to Colin Firth. Justin Timberlake gives an excellent performance as Sean Parker, co-creator of now defunct file-sharing website Napster who takes Zuckerberg on as a protégé.
The film gave me a feeling of disgust. It is difficult to like any of the characters in this film. From the frat boy mentality of Zuckerberg’s fellow Harvard students to the superficiality of Shawn Parker, there are not many sympathetic characters in this film. But that is exactly why you will be taken in by this film. It evokes so much raw emotion that it will keep you enthralled for its entirety.
It is rare to find a film that is flawless on every level and the Social Network falls into that category. The Social Network was largely passed over for The King’s Speech for the major awards in 2011, but I think it is a film that will endure longer.
Verdict: Five stars! One of the best films of 2010.