Broken friendships, a ruthless rivalry, the inception of the greatest social networking tool in existence and a spellbinding script. After leaving this screening, I was excited to say the Oscar race just got interesting.
Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich, The Social Network depicts the beginning of what we all know as the popular social networking site Facebook and the consequences, specifically the personal ones, which arose as a result of its creation. The film cuts back-and-forth between the present, which are two lawsuits against Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg), and the events which lead up to the lawsuits.
The first lawsuit is by Zuckerberg’s former best friend, who also supplemented the initial capital to start-up the business, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Then Zuckerberg faces a legal battle with Harvard classmates, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), who believe he stole their idea of forming a social networking site.
Substantial credit has to go to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. With smart, crisp dialogue, straight from the onset, the script is assured to have Oscar buzz attached to it. Sorkin writes scenes of coding as action sequences and the film plays out like an action film without combustions or chases, but where push and surge are words and concepts.
What Sorkin also does ingeniously is tread around the whole issue of “how truthful is the film” as the story flips between the present and the past. Each character is given a chance to tell their story; however all of their recollections are inconsistent. Therefore if something appears embellished, the audience has to choose who they want to believe.
The character is highly complex, neither a hero nor a blackguard, and yet so engaging…
The film is full of impressive performances. Jesse Eisenberg is phenomenal in the leading role of the socially inept intellectual, who, ironically, devised the most influential social networking tool in history. The character is highly complex, neither a hero nor a blackguard, and yet so engaging. Here is a person who has a shocking cerebral capacity, but for all his brilliance he manifests major character flaws, and yet it’s a great testament to Eisenberg that we feel empathy for him.
The supporting cast are equally brilliant. As Eduardo Saverin, Garfield carries the emotional thread of the story, whilst Justin Timberlake exceptionally presents Napster co-founder Sean Parker with a narcissistic zeal. In effect, the rivalry between Parker and Saverin, which emanates into the disintegration of Zuckerberg and Saverin’s friendship, plays out tragically.
Despite the substantial amount of discussion going on Fincher always keeps the ball rolling…
David Fincher’s direction is impeccable. The film is visually stunning, each scene is exquisitely assembled and there are several astonishing sequences which can’t be given away. There is never a moment which is tedious or feels like the film is dragging to fit the 120 minute running-time.
Despite the substantial amount of discussion going on Fincher always keeps the ball rolling. Fincher is known for dark, sinister films such as Seven and Zodiac, and The Social Network is no different; imbued with shady tones throughout which complement the generally murky narrative.
What’s most interesting about The Social Network is how it analyses how, in this day and age, people have transformed the way they communicate and socialize with each other. Come award season, I firmly believe this is what will give the film the edge against other films, such as Chris Nolan’s Inception, Danny Boyle’s upcoming survival flick 127 hours and Mike Leigh’s Another Year.
When considering Oscar nominations, the film has great prospects, with regard to Aaron Sorkins script, David Fincher’s direction and the acting ensemble (especially Jessie Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake).