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On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications. Written by
The deejay at the 2003 party is mixing with music software called Serato Scratch Live, which did not get released until May of 2004. See more »
Did you know there are more people with genius IQs living in China than there are people of any kind living in the United States?
That can't possibly be true.
What would account for that?
Well first, an awful lot of people live in China. But, here's my question: how do you distinguish yourself in a population of people who all got 1600 on their SATs?
I didn't know they take SATs in China.
They don't. I wasn't talking about China anymore, I was talking about me.
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This is a film which simply shouldn't work, but it does - magnificently. A story centred on a teenager who becomes the world's youngest billionaire, a web site that reaches a million users in two years, and a cast of real life characters with names like Zuckerberg and Winklevoss just shouldn't be possible. A convoluted tale of raw conflict on the origins of a new type of web site should not lend itself to an expensive movie as opposed to a television documentary. It succeeds because it is not about the technology but about creativity and conflict and about friendship and betrayal. It succeeds because of a magical combination of accomplished direction, scintillating dialogue and superb acting.
The direction comes from David Fincher who has had variable success, all the way from "Alien 3" to Se7en", but here he is right on form with a flashy, but tightly structured, presentation that never fails to command your attention and interest. The all-important, sparkling script is courtesy of Aaron Sorkin who gave us "The West Wing" - the best television series ever - and yet apparently does not do social networking.
At the heart of the movie is a brilliant, Oscar-worthy performance from Jesse Eisenberg as the 19 year old Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, the genius behind "The Facebook" (the social network), the unsympathetic anti-hero of the adventure, a borderline sociopath variously described by women characters as "an asshole" and someone "just trying so hard to be" one. Andrew Garfield is excellent as Zuckerberg's Harvard roommate and co-founder of the site Eduardo Savarin; thanks to the wonders of CGI, Arnie Hammer manages to be terrific as both the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss; while singer Justin Timberlake is a revelation as the Napster founder Sean Parker. This is a testosterone-charged fable with room for women only in minor support roles - ironic in that getting girls was the impetus for the Facebook project.
The film opens in 2003 with a breathlessly wordy encounter and closes in 2009 with a poignantly wordless scene. In between, the story zips along at the frenetic pace characterised by the business itself. Adapted from Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Millionaires", the framework for the fascinating narrative is not one but two courtroom dramas or, to be more accurate, pre-trial hearings (both resulted in out-of-court settlements which tells you a lot). Clearly you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
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