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THE SOCIAL NETWORK
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Movie Review by:
Jim "Good Old JR" Rutkowski
Directed by:
David Fincher
Written by:
Aaron Sorkin, based on the book: "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal" by Ben Mezrich
Starring:
Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield
Running time:
120 minutes
Released:
limited release: 10/01/10
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.
"...as a biographical picture it answers the question what happens when you get a bunch of douche bags together to create a movie about another bunch of douche bags."
The Social Network is a prime example of the old adage – never direct or write a movie when you clearly hate the subject. Director David Fincher best known as the man who brought us Fight Club (a movie I loathe) and Seven (a movie I love) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) have crafted a well made hit piece on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg – played by Jesse Eisenberg.

From the moment we first meet Zuckerberg, his girlfriend is breaking up with him because he’s a self-centered jerk and the movie never moves away from this narrative. We never find out what really drives Zuckerberg beyond the fact that he desperately wants to get into an exclusive Harvard Club. Why he wants to get in, is never really explored beyond the fact that it was “exclusive.” Several times the movie hammered the idea home that Zuckerberg doesn’t care about money or social status but then they use his not getting in as one of the many reasons he screwed over his best friend – Eduardo Saverin (credited with co-founding Facebook) who did get in.

The movie clearly takes the viewpoint that Zuckerberg screwed over everyone that he came into contact with and was at times “oblivious” about the fact that he was doing it and on other occasions (by Eisenberg’s reactions) clearly knew what he was doing. Either way it didn’t say much about Zuckerberg as a human being. Sorkin writes Zuckerberg as though he is the ultimate, anti-social douche bag. That is until he meets one of his heroes – the hyperactive founder of Napster Sean Parker. Justin Timberlake does a brilliant job but he portrays Sean as a hyper, paranoid, drugged up hipster who is obsessed with getting back at the establishment who screwed him.

The only people who get any amount of sympathy from the filmmakers are the people who are suing Zuckerberg – namely Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Winklevoss’ (Armie Hammer) the twins who claimed Zuckerburg stole the Facebook idea from them.

I’ve never met or even seen Zuckerberg speak so I’m going to go on the assumption that he really isn’t Michael Cera in disguise. Eisenberg’s portrayal comes across as what Hollywood imagines a geek to be like. His speech patterns and dialogue seemed so affected that it was distracting and felt like I was watching a performance and not a person that actually exists out in the real world. It’s as if he studied all of Michael Cera’s movies and came up with this portrait of Zuckerburg.

This could have been a truly great movie if Sorkin and Fincher had bothered to take the time to add some sort of balance or texture to Zuckerberg. I liked this as a movie about a fictional character named Mark Zuckerberg, but as a biographical picture it answers the question what happens when you get a bunch of douche bags together to create a movie about another bunch of douche bags – The Social Network.

Director David Fincher should stick to directing thrillers like Zodiac, Panic Room, The Game, Fight Club and Seven because his foray into drama, the lackluster, overlong Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was underwhelming which can be said for The Social Network as well. An example of one of the many scenes that don’t work at all is a very bizarre, music video-like scene where Harvard students row on the Charles River. By the time the end credits scroll, you’ll wish that Fincher would have toned down his stylish cinematographic skills and focused more on grounding the film in sense of reality. At a lengthy running time of 2 hours, The Social Network is ultimately lackluster, pedestrian, emotionally hollow and underwhelming despite exquisite cinematography and a timely, initially intriguing premise. .

THE SOCIAL NETWORK © 2010 Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2010 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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