Movie Review: "The Social Network"

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What does it take to amass 500 million friends? Are they all friends or just people wanting to say “I know_____” fill in the blank. And to get there, did you step over, crush, steal to get what you may think is yours. That is the basis of the how everyone’s favorite internet site got it beginnings in “The Social Network”. Ben Mezrich (Rigged, Bringing Down the House) interviewed and researched to write “The Accidental Billionaires” on how Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin created an internet gold mine with limitless possibilities in their creation of Facebook. Before he even finished the book the film was optioned and he began working with Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War, The American President) on the screenplay David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac) would direct.

It’s 2003 and you have just been dumped by your girlfriend who states, “Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster!” What do you do? Well you are a programming wiz, Mark Zuckerberg, I’ll blog about her and create a site to rate other women in the college as a way to get back at her. It caught on so quick it crashed the school server. It also caught the attention of three gentlemen classmates that had an idea that could change the social networking at school. After a brief meeting with the three gentlemen of the exclusive Phoenix Final Club, Mark was on a roll to create a powerful tool that could not be contained by just the school or even the country. It would revolutionize networking throughout the world. But just like some singe minded and obsessed people, you make enemies along the way, hopefully not your friends.

Columbia Pictures along with Relativity Media and Michael De Luca Productions have brought Fincher in to direct a story that is based on court records and interviews of some of the key players in the creation of a phenomenon that most people with a computer are a part of. Mezrich and Sorkin have written on the facts that Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg (Camp Hope, Zombieland) founded Facebook with his friend Eduardo Saverin played by Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go, Air). The story is written as dialogue between Mark and those that have become his ‘enemies’ as they are suing him over the intellectual, financial and creativity of the site. The other major player against Mark in this telling are the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler played by Armie Hammer (Reaper, Gossip Girl) and Josh Pence (The Gates, Things We Carry) respectively and Divya Narendra played by Max Minghella (Syriana, Agora).  Helping Mark through the pitfalls of financing through venture capital investors is a genius in his own right mind, Napster founder, Sean Parker portrayed by Justin Timberlake (The Love Guru, Southland Tales).

There is so much going on in this film it is sometimes hard to keep track of where you are in the timeline of things. The constant jumping back and forth between the depositions is a little annoying. Although it does give you a little insight to how Mark is. Almost like a physiological profile if you will. Yes there is probably some creative license taken by Fincher but he is just portraying on film what Mezrich and Sorkin have written. No matter the three of them pretty much put mark in one shade of light, an asshole. An arrogant, narcissistic, sociopath that will climb over anyone as long as his ideas are top is how you will view him. Eisenberg does a great job of showing a man that is constantly thinking of the next thing and not settling for what he has. The constant blank stare is a little creepy at times but fits in that Mark is smart when it comes to computers and the site just bad at communicating with people that will make you feel he is a sociopath. Garfield steps up his game again in as many weeks that I have seen him in films. As Eduardo, Garfield shows that there is a serious problem that keeps developing between Mark. Garfield is genuine in a man whose only fault is caring about his friend so much that he is trying to be a voice of reason when it comes to a business aspect. It shows that even though he is suing his friend he still cares about him. Hammer and Pence with Minghella as the Harvard gentlemen, Winklevoss twins and Divya, who try to turn the other cheek when they realize they have been duped by Mark come across as the Three Stooges. No fault of their own just how the characters are written. The actors do a good job of capturing how frustrated someone could be if they have just seen their idea brought to fruition by someone else that was supposed to have helped them in the first place. Hammer as Cameron truly tries to find the good in the situation of the character as does Minghella plays devils’ advocate as Divya, from the start wanting to sue Mark for everything. Pence playing Tyler is like the monkey in the middle sometimes siding with his brother and sometimes with Divya. Let’s not forget Mr. Timberlake as the every so mouthy Sean Parker. Talk about playing a character to a tee. Timberlake is like watching the Energizer Bunny in real life. It makes me tired sometimes just watching and hate the person he is portraying even more.

As from a technical standpoint I do have some issues, first being that of the sound in some of the party scenes. I understand in a film you want to draw the audience into the film, be part of it, and experience it as if they were there. If you would have made this film in 3D I would have expected the party scenes, in particular the night club scene to really bring you into the film. The bass of the music was so loud you could barely get the story Sean is trying to tell Mark about the Victoria Secrets founder. It is a critical point in the film that is washed away in an instant, the importance of holding on to something long enough that you get its full value. The other point is the constant jumping in the editing of the film. For the younger audience this may not seem too much of a problem with their lives probably in a constant fast motion but for the mature audience it may lose them and the idea the film makers are trying to portray. Overall it is a good film about the beginning of what some people might call the Microsoft of our generation.

What would you do? Would you do what it takes no matter what to achieve your dream, your goal, your destiny? I can relate to a couple of these instances, mostly with the Winklevoss’. I have seen my idea taken away from me and changed into something that thousands of people see a day. Those who are my friends (yes the ones on Facebook and those who are not) know what I speak about. I had my time to process it and was for quite some time upset about it. Sometimes I still do get upset but I have only myself to blame as I did not copyright the material, something the Winklevoss’ and Divya didn’t think about during that brief first meeting. I bucked up and I moved on and work on new projects now and am careful who I speak too. In our current time it is so hard that you have to be carefull who you mention ideas too as they may run away with it and change enough of it that it may have been your base but it is all theirs now. Mark ran away with a brilliant idea and saw a social value that was beyond monetary means. It was value in people. Something we should take to heart. Something Mark should take to heart as well. He may not like what I have to say next though.

This is a movie that does not put any of these people involved in a good light. As one critic said, “they are all assholes”. But Mark I would like to point out is the one who stands alone in the fact that he has constantly from the get go denounced the film and the book. And on the day of the premiere he pledge $100 million to New Jersey schools, of which he has very
little actual assets just shares in Facebook, to kind of boost his image as a philanthropist. But there is only a theoretical value in Facebook, no actual tangible money. Besides do you think throwing money out a window is really going to help an image? It’s like throwing gas on a fire. If Mark would like to help his image, tell his story. By keeping quiet and just paying out the millions he has is just leading more people to speculate that the book and movie are correct. That Mark is a narcissist who cares only about himself and his product and no one else matters not even his friend.

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