Like every David Fincher film I've seen, The Social Network thrives at a pace so well-suited for the movie, you feel as though the film itself is one of the characters. It's one of those movies where you can't help but marvel that every aspect of its making was just done right. It's one of those experiences where you often forget you're in a movie, staring helpless at the screen, hanging on every word. It's a fantastically well-made film.
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), an awkward young genius, sits in his dorm one night and, just for fun, births a website that instantly garners so many views that it crashes the entire Harvard network. He smiles to himself. No big deal. He's instantly approached by a some other students, the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer). They have an idea for an exclusive website for Harvard students to connect and network, via the internet. Zuckerberg tells him he will help them. And then he secretly builds his own website, a better one than the Winklevoss' "ConnectU". Zuckerberg creates "The Facebook".
The Social Network tells the story of the founding of Facebook, and the dual lawsuits that Zuckerberg finds himself saddled with, one at the hands of his business partner/ex-best friend.
Written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, A Few Good Men), The Social Network's dialogue is some of the best I've heard in a very long time. Listening to it spoken so wonderfully by its main actors is like watching a young computer hacker slam code down onto the keys of his laptop. You get what they are talking about, and what they are doing, but the specifics and nuances speed at you so fast that you can't help but sit back and be impressed. Sorkin's screenplay is just one of the things I eagerly anticipate Oscar nods for.
The performances of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and surprisingly enough, Justin Timberlake are also something to be noted. Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as your classic tortured genius; young, jealous, vulnerable. Eisenberg is one of those actors with the rare talent of showing you what he's feeling without ever speaking. Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, and he plays him very well. Parker is your perfect asshole, an asshole so effective you can't help but smile at his flaws.
Most impressive of all, however, is Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, the CFO of Facebook. He's a character you absolutely have no choice but to fall in love with, mostly because he's a good soul deep down, and mostly because Garfield is such a fantastic actor. I can't help but think that all of the strong emotional responses I had in this movie were directly influenced by Garfield's character. My biggest laugh was even off of one of his one-liners. Saverin is a character that requires an actor to allow us to empathize, and in casting Garfield, this movie struck gold. I'm not saying I think he'll be nominated for an Oscar, but if he was, he'd certainly have my vote.
David Fincher really does everything right when he makes a movie. From music to camera to editing, you can't help but feel like he's one of the directors who truly has a vision. He's not your classic George Lucas who shoots his movies based on cramming as much crap into one shot as he can. Fincher shoots each scene in a way that contributes to the big picture. It's this true artistic vision that makes him one of the most talented directors around, and it's this vision that makes The Social Network such a terrific movie.
When it comes down to it, The Social Network is not about Facebook. It's not about lawsuits. It's not about when things will die, or when companies will go out of business. It's about the oldest, most basic, most interesting subject of all; people.
And people will never go out of business.