Ahh, award season. Let the onrush of good movies wash over you like the baptismal waters of the Pacific over Don Draper. Satisfyin’.
For a while, The Social Network was just called the Facebook movie, and if you’re like me you were probably wondering how they were going to turn trolling through my your ex-girlfriend’s pictures into a 2-hour film. Then I heard that Aaron Sorkin had been brought on to write the script and that David Fincher would be directing, and all was right with the world.
The film is adapted from Ben Mezrich’s book, The Accidental Billionaires, and tells the story of the company’s humble beginnings, the humble egos involved, and the million-bazillion humble lawsuits that ensued after whose brainchild Facebook actually was came into dispute. In a classic Sorkin move (classic!), the movie is set during a deposition, with Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and Cameron and Tyler Winklevos being questioned about those first days in 2003 when they were idealistic Harvard kids, setting out to change the world with little more than a pocket full of dreams.
Fincher and Sorkin both come from very different backgrounds. Fincher directed the I-Need-To-Take-A-Shower Seven, and Sorkin created the I’m-Smarter-After-Watching-This ‘West Wing.’ So what you end up with is a very dark, brooding film, filled with characters who never want for crisp, witty dialogue. Round things out with a score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that can best be described as “moody,” and what you’re left with is a unique piece of filmmaking that’ll be a shoo-in for a Best Picture nod at next year’s Oscars.
Because some parts of the film’s story have obviously been embellished for dramatic effect, you have to ask yourself which character traits have also been a little over-exaggerated. The film portrays Zuckerberg as some sort of borderline-autistic obsessive compulsive. I’ve never seen any interviews with the guy, so I couldn’t really attest to how accurate a portrayal it is. My wife saw him at a SXSW panel a few years back and says it seemed about right. In any case, the character is well-acted, and a real breakaway for Jesse Eisenberg, who, after seeing Adventureland and Zombieland, I was worried would spend the rest of his life competing with Michael Cera for a role in Just Me Being Me: The Michael Cera Story. I was glad to see him show a little more range, although you could make the argument that it’s just more range within the same character.
Justin Timberlake does his usual good job, although to me he didn’t figure into the story as largely as I thought he would. Andrew Garfield is a name that you’ll probably be hearing thrown around a lot more now. Especially because he’s just been cast as Peter Parker in the new Spiderman reboot. This should at least reassure those who weren’t sure he’d bring much to the role, although they may still be asking questions about a Spanish Spiderman. The film also stars Armie Hammer as the twins Winklevoss, who may actually be one of the film’s best kept secrets. He does a great job, especially considering that he’s playing two roles. Also keep an eye out for Rooney Mara, who plays Zuckerberg’s girlfriend in the opening scene. She’s just been cast as Lisbeth Salander in Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Her role in here definitely answers the question, “Who the hell is Rooney Mara?”
Now that I’m putting all this down on paper, I find that I’ve quickly run out of things to say about the film. I guess it doesn’t take 2,000 words to list the reasons The Social Network is better than movies like Daybreakers and The Book of Eli. The film is poignant, and really portrays Zuckerberg as a tragic if sympathetic character. You’ll definitely want to friend The Social Network and post on its Wall. Also Poke it and send it a Mafia Wars request.