Sunday, November 7, 2010
Review: The Social Network
“The Social Network”
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Jesse Eisenberg; Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
When it comes to movie-watching lately, I’ve found I prefer to know as little as possible beforehand. The ever-dramatic trailers designed to lure you into watching the film have become little more than total summaries, leaving you with no storyline to look forward to, and expecting you to watch a movie simply to fill in the cracks or see a bit more of Leonardo DiCaprio. So I was more than happy to go see “The Social Network”, having not seen a single advertisement, nor knowing enough detail about the story upon which it was set.
We all know to a certain degree that Facebook’s creator and owner, Mark Zuckerberg (zukk-er-berg by the way, not zook-er-berg as some of us Saffas had reckoned), had more than a few court cases brought against him by the young men who claimed to have been instrumental in the revolutionary site’s creation. And we know he lost a couple of mill, but ultimately won the battle. Honestly, beyond the privacy scandals that upset our violated little hearts, I don’t think most of us cared about who created Facebook, as long as it was still there with all 500 of our proudly earned friends in tact.
As it turns out, the story of our beloved Facebook is quite fascinating. And not necessarily because of the precarious plot line. There’s one thing that makes this movie work, and one thing that makes it worth watching: Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg. He’s a character you’ll find you’ll be quite proud to have as the owner of your favourite social network.
[The actors and their real-life counterparts]
How accurate Eisenberg’s representation of Zuckerberg is, is irrelevant. From an entertainment perspective - let’s just say he had me hooked onto the arrogant, smart-assed, intelligent prick you’d expect Mark Zuckerberg to be. His character is established in the first scene, to perfection I deem worthy of an award nomination. Because not only is it succinct and unflinchingly good acting, it’s maintained throughout the movie. It’s not some cute, well-scripted, highly witty conversation with his girlfriend that, used in a lesser movie, would establish some kind of weak flirtation, only to be overtaken by a babbling character that even a good actor wouldn’t know what to do with. It establishes Zuckerberg as a stupidly intelligent young man, with ambitions and a bluntness that could only be attributed to someone who knows enough about social etiquette and norms to not give a shit. He’s like the real-life Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) without the physics major and OCD. And he’s a typical nerdy guy, as you would have him here on earth, not as some cliched, virginal, loser stereotype. He loves his computers, he loves his blogging, and he still loves his beer and bitches.
[*drool* Armie Hammer]
So yes, I give most credit to Jesse and his character. But there is no doubt that the movie is constructed brilliantly. I had been hesitant - worried that it would be very much narrative and chronological, and starting from the base-beginnings. I didn’t think the story would be interesting enough to keep me transfixed. But it’s edited with a brilliant balance, between the chronological happenings and the things that made this story documentable: the court cases. So you’re seeing the drama unravel simultaneously. No ominous music stating: “this will be a mistake! Remember this scene for the Winklevoss courtcase!”. (Winklevoss twins, by the way, both played by the delicious Armie Hammer and his equally deliciously deep voice.) It’s a technique that keeps you very much on the edge of your seat.
[The Real Winklevii]
Of course, you’ve got to ask me: “What about JT?” It was definitely a good move on David Fincher’s part to put Justin Timberlake in this movie. Even though he’s not the most credited actor in the world, he’s a big name and people are curious to see what he’s doing with this craft now that he’s neglecting our need for his awesome music. And it’s fair to say he’s the only big name in it. Which, again, I love. Yes, you’ll have seen Eisenberg play the talkative geek before, and his resume does boast some rather large movies (the highly nominated “The Squid and the Whale” included), but his brilliant performance is distinct. The charmingly ‘suited up’ (and future Spiderman), Andrew Garfield also showed off his chops as Eduardo Saverin, the somewhat ‘silent’ partner of Facebook. Did I mention the delicious Winklevosses? Winklevi as they’re referred to? Oh yes. Back to JT, his role as Napster’s creator, Sean Parker, is relatively small, albeit prominent. And he’s good in it. He pulls it off: another arrogant intellectual who made it rich at a young age, but still a bit of a geeky pussy with an unfortunate drug problem. Which also does well to highlight why Zuckerberg himself is where he is, and why most of you have never heard of Sean Parker. He does it well, and his character serves its purpose.
[The Leading lads]
The sole (and I mean ONLY) problem I had with this movie? The Winklevi are in England for a rowing competition (whatever you’d call it), and they’re introduced to Prince Albert. Who has an American accent. I shall say no more. (Unless I missed a boat somewhere, and Prince Albert indeed has picked up the twang of the Yank.)
There’s so much humour to be enjoyed in this movie too - from the very clever Zuckerberg to the general Varsity-vibe that’s portrayed, along with how much you’ll appreciate how close this story is to home. Ultimately, it’s what gave Finch the need to make this film: the fact that he knew 500 million people use Facebook, and that 500 million of them would undoubtedly want to watch it. And trust me, you should.