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Friday, June 21, 2024
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"Lots to hate, everything to love"

Movie: The Social Network

Grade: A

We're all infatuated with it. We make sure we're always connected; we even set up alerts to notify us when anything happens on it.

Once Hollywood found out about this addiction, a movie about the phenomenon was only a matter of time.

Everything about The Social Network pointed towards a typical Hollywood glamorization piece. The expectation was for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, Solitary Man) to come off as a cyberweb superhero that sits on a digital throne worshipped by everyone.

However, The Social Network is far from an embellished biopic that portrays Zuckerberg as an Internet godsend. If anything, director David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and crew dug deep to reveal Zuckerberg's ruthlessness.

Zuckerberg had a vision, and he trucked over anyone who got in the way of it. This included fellow co-founder Eduardo Saverin, (Andrew Garfield, Never Let Me Go) whose idea to grab advertisers for Facebook irked Zuckerberg enough to make him minimize Saverin's ownership of the company.

But that's why The Social Network was able to fight off the potential of utter disappointment. The film was anything but predictable. It's almost unsettling to find out that Zuckerberg, someone you wouldn't accept a friend request from if you knew him personally, created the obsession known as Facebook.

It can be hard to fall for a movie with a protagonist as coarse and unlikeable as Zuckerberg, but his tale is a phenomenon rarely seen. It's like watching the smartest kid in the room, the one ridiculed throughout adolescence, finally become the envy of everyone.

This journey from social reject to self-absorbed billionaire is a ride that enthralls and keeps the viewer from, well, checking Facebook.

Eisenberg is brilliant as the brash Zuckerberg. The first scene of the movie displays Zuckerberg's unorthodox personality while out with his girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara, A Nightmare on Elm Street). Those skeptical of Eisenberg are immediately silenced by his accurate portrayal of the conceited Harvard undergrad.

Zuckerberg is one of many ego-driven characters on display throughout The Social Network. The Winklevoss brothers, Cameron (Armie Hammer, 2081) and Tyler (Josh Pence, The Things We Carry) are perfect as the snide jocks who row for Harvard. They feel their website idea, Harvard Connection, was stolen and perfected by Zuckerberg, and they work hard to make sure this perceived computer science nerd will not bank off their idea.

Even Justin Timberlake's character, Napster creator Sean Parker, emerges and wants a piece of the action for his benefit. Superstar Timberlake (The Open Road) certainly didn't need any training to prep for the role of the charismatic, cocky and suave Parker and his character provides energy to the story when it is most needed.

Viewers are left sympathizing with Saverin, the co-founder who is weeded out once Parker becomes involved. Garfield is sensational while he plays the victim. Even while he's suing Zuckerberg, Garfield displays enough sincere pain that the audience hopes Saverin receives the money he's vying for.

All the other elements are combined for a near-perfect picture. The writing is on point with enough wit to fill Facebook statuses for days. Fincher, who left many snoozing while Benjamin Button crawled toward the finish line, took a more adventurous approach with The Social Network. The creation of a website might seem bland enough, but Fincher kept it exciting without going through the typical big picture dramatization.

Finding characters to empathize with is tough, but the whole package is delivered in a surprisingly brilliant way. It's almost straining to watch Zuckerberg create this empire, but when the addicts go home and type in their "The Social Network is awesome" statuses, they will realize the creation was for the betterment of our digitalized lives.

Now, link this review for all your friends to see.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com


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