As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.
Robert Downey Jr.,
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.
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
Jesse Eisenberg, who is diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), said in an interview that one of the hardest things about the role was having to deliberately speak and behave in a manner he had struggled against in his own personality his entire life. See more »
When Sean's girlfriend fails to catch the beer that Mark throws at her, the second time he throws it, the bottle breaks in mid-air before hitting anything. 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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Smart, snappy and engaging thanks to good writing, performance and structure
As someone who has never joined Facebook and don't have any desire to do so, I approached the film on the subject with a certain caution since, although I was aware of the various back and forwards legally between all the individuals involved, I had generally treated it with only slight interest because I really don't care to consider how much money those involved now have. So it is to the film's credit then that I was easily held for the duration of the film and that the two hour running time zipped past. Opening with a scene of rapid-fire dialogue that only people in Aaron Sorkin's world talk in, the film keeps up the pace throughout with lots of snappy and convincing dialogue. This is also impressive when one considers that the majority of the "action" is either occurring in coding within computers or in stuffy conference rooms between two legal teams.
This is where the importance of structure comes in and the film effortlessly moves between the two lawsuits and the events themselves as they unfold. None of it is in flashback per se but rather the audience is being told the story and getting to know the characters across the different time-zones at the same time without any real problem in terms of losing the audience or fragmenting the telling – it is a very strong structure and one that is edited together really well. In the telling, Zuckerberg is the focus and he doesn't come off well at all (although I imagine his immense wealth will perhaps soothe him a little). Here though he is very much an intellectual geeky type, difficult to get to know and, once he is able to "be himself" one discovers that actually he is even more of a jerk than when he at least had some sheer of politeness about him. He is the cynical heart of the film when it comes to the rather selfish manner in which the business unfolds – with Zuckerberg caught up in himself and seemingly motivated by some deeper sense of failing and inadequacy that manifests itself in a barely concealed jealously.
Thankfully the film balances this character with the much more sympathetic Eduardo, who is really the heart of the piece in that he allows us to see Zuckerberg more clearly by virtue of outcomes and not just actions. How much these two and their relationship is dramatised as opposed to fictionalised, I'm not sure, but within Sorkin's script they both work well. Fincher also delivers and makes the film feel cinematic despite its very talky and chair-bound nature. He produces great shots, sets the scenes well and produces good performances throughout. Eisenberg stopped being the poor man's Michael Cera for me with this as he produces a character that he really understands and gets into – it isn't that he is saying the lines in a certain way so much as it is him "being" that character so that the rather bitter edge to him is always there even when the scene doesn't need it to be more than a shadow. Garfield is equally good and does make a lot of the scenes with his more emoting character, while Timberlake is great – OK a rather swaggering character but he pulls it off well. In support there are plenty of good turns from Hammer (who does great with his two roles), Mara, Jones and others and the only ones that did distract me a little was Disney's Brenda Song and a totally silent Adina Porter (True Blood) who seemed to be in a character that one would normally just stick an extra in – I doubt she was actually even in focus once during the film.
Anyway, True Blood fan gripe aside, The Social Network is as strong as everyone says it is. It has the snap and pace that you know it will have thanks to Sorkin but it also has a strong base of characters and makes this tale of invention, betrayal, business and lawsuits into a fascinating and engaging character-driven thriller of sorts. The performances and direction are all on the money to make the most of this great script and the film does stand as one of the best of 2010 – hopefully the upcoming Oscars will reflect that as well.
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