Facebook boasts of having over 500 millions users. That means that one in 12 people on Earth have an account, and “The Social Network” takes a look at a once in a lifetime idea that began over a drunken breakup.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as the soon to be youngest billionaire on the planet, Mark Zuckerberg. After breaking up with girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), he retreats back to his Harvard dormitory to write scathing and unflattering remarks of her on his blog. At the same time, he concocts the idea of comparing the girls at Harvard and creates a website, facesmash, which ranks the hotness of girls via comparison.
The number of individuals accessing the site causes an overload of the campus’ server and catches the attention of identical twin brothers Cameron/Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer in dual roles). Mr. Hammer does a nice job in making a distinction between the twins with Tyler being the logical one in his approach to dealing with the possible theft of intellectual property to his brother, Cameron, who wants to take actions immediately and do whatever it takes to bring Marc and site down.
Another member of the Winklevoss’ group is Divya Nardenera (Max Minghella). They recruit Mark to be the programmer of the twin’s idea for Harvard Connection, a website that allows Harvard students to keep in contact with one another online.
Mark delays the launching of their site as he partners with his friend and roomate,Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), who becomes the chief financial officer, to launch a similar idea called The Facebook. Eduardo serves as the money man who gets the website off the ground. Once The Facebook launches, its spreads onto the campus and dormitories of Harvard and other nearby eastern Ivy League schools.
With the launch, the two friends find all the fame and fortune that comes with it. They begin to need extra expenses to hire and expand their operations out of their dorm rooms. They also enter into the popular lexicon with Facebook being used as a phrase. The emergence of Facebook also brings upon the following of other students and the girls.
The partnership of Mark and Eduardo begins to take its toll as they disagree on the next phase of The Facebook. Also an impending lawsuit from the group that he abandoned begins to take into effect and servies as a film device to retell the story through flashback. The theme of a student who becomes rich and elevated to celebrity status will ensue jealously, broken friendships and burned bridges.
It isn’t until Mark meets Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) that Facebook becomes the site that it becomes in retaining the coolness factor. It is Sean that recommends simplifying the brand by dropping the “the” and expanding from east coast Ivy League school to the west coast, nationwide and eventually worldwide. From there on, after the site has over one million users, the rest of the story is written and has invented the term social network and the introduction of the concept of keeping in contact online.
Mr. Eisenberg’s portrayal as Marc is the center focus of the film. He’s had previous success in playing the smart-aleck protagonist in “Adventureland” and “Zombieland,” but here he isn’t the good-hearted kid but rather judgmental and bitter. He also portrays Mr. Zuckerberg as a neurotic individual whose only focus is maintaining the website and ensuring that it does not fall into oblivion. Because of his determination to keep his project running, that often leaves him feeling alone and isolated. It also adds another dimension to his character that keeps him from being depsied by film viewers.
Mr. Timberlake, also excels in portraying a character that can be deemed good or entirely bad. He does usurp his way into Marc’s mind and casting aside Eduardo. But it’s because of Sean that the site has become what it’s today. He comes off as charming individual who appears to have control of Marc in that their concepts for the website sync.
Mr. Zuckerberg may become the youngest billionaire in the world, but his life is void of friends he previously had who understood him and relationships he once had. That’s especially noticed toward the end of the film and through the lawsuit between former friends.
The film feels all too brief in the telling of the rise of a man who would introduce the world to Facebook. Also the film’s subplot of the romantic relationship between Eduardo and Christy (Brenda Song), feels out of place. What begins as a quick hookup with a groupie takes a turn when she becomes psychotic.
The film does follows often clichéd themes of the rise that is associated with wealth and power leaving traces of the past behind. But what distinguishes this film from others is the outstanding performances by Mr. Eisenberg along with the cast that will be recognized by the Academy come February.
· Audio Commentary with Director David Fincher
· Audio Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin and cast.
Classification: New DVD Release
Movie Grade: 4.0 stars out of 5 stars.
Mr. Eisenberg’s Marc Zuckerberg treads into territory reserved for the grownups of the world and may find himself in that shoe come again with his portrayal in the best actor category for the Oscar. Despite following the often familiar trend of a kid coming into powers only to lose those close to him, but the cast makes this film stand out
DVD Grade: 3.0 stars out of 5 stars
The rental version of the film features commentary, and isn’t loaded with any theatrical trailers from the film distributor and parent company
Rating: Rated PG-13 sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.
Timing: 2 Hours
· Director: David Fincher
· Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
Novel: Ben Mezrich “The Accidental Billioniare”
· Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, Brenda Song and Justin Timberlake.