Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, the man who invented Facebook… or did he? That’s what you are about to find out in The Social Network, a dramatisation of how Facebook came about. Mark Zuckerberg is a fast and sharp talking nerd, and he has very little friends. What he has though, are the formidable computer skills which he uses to create his own social networking website, which turns out to be more popular than anyone could have ever imagined. The more light-hearted aspect of this story is how he gets the ideas for the different features of the website. The flow of events is very clever, making you engrossed in what Mark Zuckerberg is up to next.
Meet the co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. He is played by (future Spider-Man) Andrew Garfield, who has a very professional look to him. I liked how the realtionship between Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin played out, which amounted to some really dramatic situations. There is a scene towards the end where emotions turn ugly, and that’s when you see how good an actor Andrew Garfield can be. The film does a good job of letting us experience what it’s like to be these teenagers, including their living conditions and the places they hang out at.
Justin Timberlake hops along in a third role, and he is the dude with all the right friends and business connections. If you are thinking that this pop singer will ruin the movie, you will be surprised. Justin Timberlake not only convincingly comes across as the arrogant businessman, but his real life pop culture status actually adds an ambiguous feeling to his character. Rooney Mara plays the girl whom Mark Zuckerberg is trying to score with, and she is pretty good even though her character is just the girl that nerds cannot seem to talk to properly (which is actually 99.9% of girls).
The story is told mostly in flashbacks, and there are many shocking reveals throughout the film. There are scenes where we frequently switch between the past and the present, which always keeps things interesting. The entire film is pleasantly fast paced, and you have to keep up with the rapid dialogue. The score is not only brilliant, but unique and it suits the modern tone of the film. There is a scene where the pumping music in a club almost drowns out the characters’ voices, which I thought was really creative.
The film wraps up with Mr. Zuckerberg himself using Facebook. What exactly he is doing on his own website, I leave you to see for yourself. It’s a very smart way to end the film, and those hoping for an uplifting finale should be reminded that you don’t always get what you want. Even if you don’t use Facebook or don’t care for how it was created, this film contains an extremely compelling story of betrayal, backstabbing, and a seemingly accurate portrayal of modern technological youth culture. I don’t think The Social Network “defines a generation”, as some people are putting it, but it is a powerful and riveting drama that deserves all the praise and Oscar buzz it is getting.