Review by Paul Stathakis | October 6, 2010

It's all about Facebook.com

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, Facebook.com. 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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