Status update – Mike is…writing a review of that Facebook movie.
Facebook is all about status. X is engaged, drunk; on holiday; divorced; walking the dog; has 378 friends. Our thoughts transmitted around the world. However the one person who we know very little about is the site’s founder Mark Zuckerberg. How can someone who created a site used by a billion people be so mysterious? The Social Network provides no definitive answers but nevertheless creates one of the best cinematic experiences of the year in trying.
The film flashes back to the creation of social network website Facebook, as founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) gives depositions at two separate lawsuits brought by his former best friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and the Winklesvoss twins (Armie Hammer), all determined to get their hands a piece of the multi-billion dollar business.
The jewel in the crown is the script by Aaron Sorkin, who made everyday life in the White House seem fun and interesting in the West Wing. The TV series proved his mastery at adapting multiple stories and timelines and he presents a confusing and potentially confusing set up with pace, precision and heart and without the need for constant expositional title cards. By presenting the story from multiple points of view, the viewers are left to draw their own conclusions.
From the opening scene where Zuckerberg is dumped by his girlfriend, the dialogue bolts by at the speed of sound, making the film’s two hour running time seem barely half that. What Sorkin excels at is creating characters who are too clever for their own good and yet remain sympathetic. Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg with an eternal chip on the shoulder, in the desperate search for acceptance. His motivation to help out the Winklevoss twins (a remarkable dual performance by Armie Hammer) with their social networking site is because he sees a way to into their allegedly superior world.
However the more successful his Facebook site becomes, the more he becomes detached from his friends. Saverin provides the initial funding but becomes increasingly isolated as Zuckerbeg comes under the spell of Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who introduces him to the hip California scene. This leads to the ultimate betrayal as Saverin is jettisoned, causing one of the two lawsuits. However through the whole film, Zuckerberg’s actions are never seen as malicious or money orientated. He just can’t help be an utter shit, the kind of person you are happy to watch but would be hate to be friends with.
Director David Fincher for once takes a back seat. Known for his technical wizardry behind the camera, here he is content to keep the screenplay flowing and allow the tragedy of Zuckerberg’s isolation grow. The film may have no epic scope or laugh out loud humour, tears or tragedy but when judged by its merits (screenplay, acting,directing), you are unlikely to see a better movie this year.
Status Update – Mike says… go see now.