Review by Paul Stathakis | October 6, 2010

It's all about

Marylin Delpy: The site got 2200 hits with­in 2 hours?
Mark Zucker­berg: Thousand.
Marylin Delpy: I’m sorry?
Mark Zucker­berg: Twen­ty-two thousand.

Mark Zucker­berg is no techno­phobe. He’s not just some 26 year-old kid out of Har­vard. He’s the world youngest bil­lion­aire and he’s the man respon­si­ble for the famous social net­work site, David Fincher’s film presents Zucker­berg as one-half of the minds behind the cre­ation of the bil­lion-dol­lar enter­prise. The movie explains how Zucker­berg start­ed with an idea, then bor­rowed from some­one else’s idea, to arrive at Face­book. The poster of the film sums up his jour­ney in one sen­tence: “You don’t get 500 mil­lion friends with­out mak­ing ene­mies.” Zucker­berg had friends at one point. He demand­ed their help, both on a finan­cial and cre­ative lev­el. His friends learned to trust him and they helped him every step of the way. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, as it often goes in busi­ness, trust could lead to deceit.

The Social Net­work” is a sol­id dra­ma, fast-paced, con­tem­po­rary, dark, and it exam­ines the shady side of busi­ness. The cast is superb and though actor Jesse Eisenberg’s (who por­trays Zucker­berg) face is fea­tured on the poster, it’s actor Andrew Garfield (who stars as Zuckerberg’s once good friend Eduar­do Saverin) who steals the show. Garfield is a grow­ing star. Ear­li­er this year, he was named as the new face of Spi­der-Man. His per­for­mance here is out­stand­ing, the kind of act­ing that doesn’t nor­mal­ly go by unno­ticed in Hol­ly­wood espe­cial­ly around the time of the Oscars. Garfield is, from begin­ning to end, the char­ac­ter we empathise with the most. Every time he and Mark dis­cuss the idea of Face­book, Eduar­do uses the des­ig­na­tion “we” as a con­stant reminder to Mark that he is a part of Face­book. This is a sad per­for­mance by a char­ac­ter who pro­gres­sive­ly feels, with­out hav­ing to say it out loud, that he’s being shoved aside – into obscu­ri­ty. Garfield plays Eduar­do with con­vic­tion and cred­i­bil­i­ty and when he falls, we fall with him and we feel for him.

The script is also note­wor­thy. It’s filled with sub­tle but wit­ty dia­logue. In one scene, Mark defends him­self before two oth­er Har­vard stu­dents who claim that Zucker­berg stole their idea and turned it into Face­book. Mark sar­cas­ti­cal­ly responds, “If these guys were going to cre­ate Face­book, then they should’ve cre­at­ed Face­book.” In anoth­er scene Zucker­berg is remind­ed by his ex-girl­friend that, “The internet’s writ­ten in ink, Mark. It’s not writ­ten in pen­cil.” These are only two mem­o­rable quotes. There are plen­ty more to be found in this script.

The Social Net­work” is told from sev­er­al per­spec­tives. We get Eduardo’s side of the sto­ry, Zuckerberg’s account, and that of two Har­vard stu­dents. As the cas­es unfolds, we also hear from the lawyers rep­re­sent­ing each par­ty. Finch­er cap­tures the com­pli­cat­ed nature of the case, main­tain­ing a claus­tro­pho­bic mood in the con­fer­ence room where the inter­ro­ga­tions take place. Finch­er also care­ful­ly frames the faces of the actors in close-up shots, often cap­tur­ing their mood as reflect­ed in their facial expres­sions and their eyes. In Eduardo’s case, it’s the pain/sadness of being betrayed. In Zuckerberg’s case, the cold uncar­ing stare of the arro­gant businessman.


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