The Social Network (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition)

David Fincher’s The Social Network is the stunning tale of a new breed of cultural insurgent: a punk genius who sparked a revolution and changed the face of human interaction for a generation, and perhaps forever. Shot through with emotional brutality and unexpected humor, this superbly crafted film chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a complex, incisive screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a brilliant cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, The Social Network bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators.They all laughed at college nerd Mark Zuckerberg, whose idea for a social-networking site made him a billionaire. And they all laughed at the idea of a Facebook movie–except writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher, merely two of the more extravagantly talented filmmakers around. Sorkin and Fincher’s breathless picture, The Social Network, is a fast and witty creation myth about how Facebook grew from Zuckerberg’s insecure geek-at-Harvard days into a phenomenon with 500 million users. Sorkin frames the movie around two lawsuits aimed at the lofty but brilliant Zuckerberg (deftly played by Adventureland‘s Jesse Eisenberg): a claim that he stole the idea from Ivy League classmates, and a suit by his original, now slighted, business partner (Andrew Garfield). The movie follows a familiar rise-and-fall pattern, with temptation in the form of a sunny California Beelzebub (an expert Justin Timberlake as former Napster founder Sean Parker) and an increasingly tangled legal mess. Emphasizing the legal morass gives Sorkin and Fincher a chance to explore how unsocial this social-networking business can be, although the irony seems a little facile. More damagingly, the film steers away from the prickly figure of Zuckerberg in the latter stages–and yet Zuckerberg presents the most intriguing personality in the movie, even if the movie takes pains to make us understand his shortcomings. Fincher’s command of pacing and his eye for the clean spaces of Aughts-era America are bracing, and he can’t resist the technical trickery involved in turning actor Armie Hammer into privileged Harvard twins (Hammer is letter-perfect). Even with its flaws, The Social Network is a galloping piece of entertainment, a smart ride with smart peopleā€¦ who sometimes do dumb things. –Robert Horton

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3 Responses to The Social Network (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition)

  1. K. Harris "Film aficionado"

    Friendship, Betrayal, And Success–An Online Social Revolution Is Born From A Real World Social Ineptitude Director David Fincher is back in fighting form! Those fearing he may have lost some of his bite with the ponderous “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” or the disappointing returns of the criminally overlooked “Zodiac” need not worry. “The Social Network” is a caustically funny and incredibly contemporary look at the evolution of Facebook. Playing like a thriller and a blisteringly dark comedy, this terrific film may be Fincher’s most sophisticated piece to date (and certainly his most riveting since the days of “Seven” and “Fight Club”). On paper, “The Social Network” might not sound exhilarating but with the perfect screenwriter (Aaron Sorkin) and the perfect cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer)–Fincher’s tale of betrayal, pride, and avarice has become one of this year’s must see films.While I’m sure that everyone knows the subject matter of “The Social Network”–very briefly, the film’s plot construction is structured as two pieces of litigation are being brought against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (played with intensity by Eisenberg). One lawsuit is from his former business partner and best friend–a co-founder of the original website who got systematically squeezed out. The other is by a trio of Harvard grads (Armie Hammer plays 2 of the 3, they’re twins, in a starmaking performance!) who claim Zuckerberg stole the idea from them after he was hired to create an exclusive dating site. Seen through these concurrent cases, deftly edited with flashback footage, the full picture starts to unravel. From Zuckerberg’s social ineptitude, but superior intellect, a social revolution was born. And the more powerful Facebook grew, the more disconnected Zuckerberg became to his only friends and compelled by the drive for domination (his ultimate sense of acceptance).Make no mistake, while “The Social Network” is incredibly smart and literate, it is also grandly entertaining. Screenwriter Sorkin (creator of “The West Wing” and my favorite “Sports Night”) has put together what, in my opinion, is the best screenplay of the year. Sorkin is known for his whip fast dialogue and it is spot-on here! The movie is corrosively witty and uncompromisingly in your face. The film is cast with thoroughly unlikable types in a battle for supremacy. Eisenberg has never been better–no doubt Zuckerberg is a tool (both before and after his success), but Eisenberg makes you understand why and (I’m startled to say) actually appreciate it. Timberlake (as oily Napster creator Sean Parker) is a fantastically appealing devil-in-disguise, but as much as you may dislike him–he was integral to Facebook going wide. Hammer, as I said, is the film’s biggest surprise. And Andrew Garfield, as Zuckerberg’s betrayed partner, is vivid and alive–and, dare I say, the only character to elicit actual sympathy. But again, the film is merciless–even though we know that Garfield is screwed, we also know that it was an essential part of the successful expansion of Facebook. Business ethics be darned.”The Social Network” is grown-up entertainment that has much to say about success in the modern era. I appreciated that no one veered away from the heart of darkness in this morality piece–that’s what makes everything seem so relevant. Can someone be both repugnant and admirable? If you told me earlier in the year that a film about computer geeks at a keyboard would be edge-of-your-seat entertainment, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here, I go. For sheer entertainment, remarkable performances, and an incredibly sophisticated screenplay–”The Social Network” is easily one of my favorite films of the year! Easily. KGHarris, 10/10.

  2. Mark Zuckerberg has 0 friends. The hype that has been circling around this film is ridiculous. On Rotten Tomatoes 145 out of 150 reviews assert this as one of the year’s best films, and half of them make comparisons to Citizen Kane. So to say my expectations for this film were high is an understatement, I expected it to be a masterpiece. And even with its small flaws, I can claim that The Social Network is our defining film.The film is set up alot like Rashomon, and yes Citizen Kane. It moves back between Zuckerberg’s freshman year at Harvard in 2003 when he invented facebook, and a few years later when he’s fighting legal battles against his former best friend Eduardo Saverin and 3 Upper Class students who claim to have created the “Idea”. I found switching gave this film a very quick pace, and in many ways deepened the stories thick layers even further. But like Rashomon we can never truly percieve who’s version of the story is the truth. This also parallels our perception of the film: Did this really happen or is it complete fiction?The performances in The Social Network are spectacular. Jesse Eisenburg is known for his likeable roles, this is not one of them. His Mark Zuckerberg is brilliant. He is unsociable, cruel, condescending, self-centered, hateful, mean,narcicistic; one could write an entire essay on everything that’s wrong with this guy’s personality (or lack of). This to me was one of the great ironies of the whole film, that one of the biggest social network phenomenons today was invented by a man who has no idea how to socialize with the world around him. It is easy to question whether this portrayal is accurate, but seeing that the real Mark Zuckerberg was trying to heighten his image near the time of this film’s release, it wouldn’t suprise me. The other impressive performance in this film was newcomer Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin. To me this was the most likeable person in the film, and Garfield portrayed him with an impressive amount of empathy and depth. The performances from Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Rooney Mara engaged me as well.But let’s get real here, the real star of this film is Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar worthy script. Log on to any critic’s site, except Armond White, and most likely you will find a whole paragraph gushing over this script. It is witty, friery, and fast. From the first scene, my head was spinning from the fast conversations and at times it was hard to keep up with all of the witty sarcasms. All I could think of was that I feel sorry for any viewers who don’t speak english, because those subtitles will be fast. It is also very quoteable, my favorite: “Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster.”I must also mention that the Direction is fantastic, I have always been a fan of Fincher’s films, Fight Club especially, and he has outdone himself here. The perfect example of this is the rowing scene set to an electronic version of “The Hall of the Mountain King”, a great piece of filmmaking.Overall I highly recommend The Social Network, and yes I do think it defines our times and some of the themes here do resemble Citizen Kane. The Overall synopsis of the film is about the creation of a social phenomenon, but there is sooo much more here then that, much that I haven’t discovered yet since I just saw it today. In short, I think it is a cautionary tale about money and power. Being a billionaire is probably nice, but since Zuckerberg (The film one anyways) has isolated himself to such a degree, he will forever be pining for existensial things that will always be out of his reach, and he will pine more for them than anything he can ever buy with money. Quite sad really.A Great film5/5Pros: Excellent Acting, Direction, and Writing.Cons: Accuracy is Definitly questionable, but I wouldn’t listen to anything Zuckerberg says about this.

  3. Much better than I expected. This was much better than I expected it to be (I expected it — like Zuckerberg himself — to be annoying!) It’s true, for the first half an hour or so (as you acclimatise to the Harvard setting, and Zuckerberg’s petty hostility toward (and inability to interact with) the social side of campus life) it is as annoying as expected, but you do get involved and it does become a great film.Everything is very well shot: the campus atmosphere captured perfectly and the acting is first rate (especially Andrew Garfield as — the only character who is really likeable — Eduardo Saverin). It doesn’t really follow a standard plot — the story of how Facebook was founded (and how quickly it became a global success) is interspersed with two subsequent lawsuits against Zuckerberg — though it is simple enough to follow. I think the main reason this works (as others have mentioned — as well as the excellent direction by Fincher) is that Zuckerberg (and most of his peers) are portrayed as being just as irresponsible and foolish as you expect them to be! This isn’t the story of how a genius founded a global empire, but of how someone with little social skills managed (through a combination of hard work, other peoples ideas (largely stolen) and sheer luck) managed to revolutionise the Social Networking phenomenon. It portrays him as a dedicated professional and programming genius, but with little charisma or morality. If it had tried to idolise him, then it would probably have lost me early on; as I say, after the first 30 minutes, I was totally riveted.It’s not necessarily something you will watch often, but you will be glad you watched. In a nuthsell: you’ll probably enjoy it much more and it will irritate you much less than you thought it would. It won’t make you “like” Facebook or Zuckerberg if you don’t already, but you will at least gain satisfaction (in this version of events) that it was set up by annoying pratts!

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