The Social Network
The founding of Facebook is an origin story that you wouldn’t immediately associate with a Hollywood movie. ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ and ‘Batman Begins’ are the sort of ‘birth of an icon’ films that we’re used to seeing at the top of the US Box Office- but The Social Network is a very different kettle of fish; and a much better one.
David Fincher coming away from the Benjamin Button backlash that swamped his underappreciated previous effort has put together an extremely fine film here. The credits have been flying mainly towards Aaron Sorkin’s brilliantly snappy script and the casts performances, but Fincher deserves credit for putting it all together so wonderfully. The film is much more reliant on dialogue than previous outings like Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac and therefore a much more challenging directorial task.
But the first thing that anyone watching The Social Network will appreciate is the script. From the opening sequence between Zuckerberg and Lisbeth Salander (sorry, Rooney Mara) right to the final moment between Zuckerberg and Karen from The Office (sorry, Rashida Jones) the film is peppered with Sorkin’s trade mark machine gun, whip smart dialogue. It’s brilliantly shot by Fincher and beautifully read by the cast.
Coming to the cast Jesse Eisenberg is a revelation in the title role. Previously considered a poor man’s Michael Cera, he steps out of his Adventureland/Zombieland shoes here and delivers a fully Oscar worthy performance. Andrew Garfield (who has a perfect American accent) is almost his equal as Eduardo Saverin, the wronged half of the venture. Justin Timberlake confirms that he has made one of the most successful career transitions of recent years as the Mephistophelian Sean Parker. There are several other note worthy performances from Armie Hammer (playing both halves of the Winklevoss twins), Max Minghella as their snobby partner and Brenda Song as Saverin’s unhinged girlfriend; but it is the relationship between Zuckerberg, Saverin and Parker that is the most affecting. It’s testament to Eisenberg’s performance that the movie only ever seems to sag slightly when he is off screen.
This is one of the strongest Oscar contenders to get an October release in recent years. We can only hope that Fincher along with his stars Eisenberg and Garfield are rewarded for their superb work, as Sorkin will surely be.