Movie Review - The Social Network

Movie Review - The Social Network

by David Schuster and Steven Leventhal

We both had very strong reactions to this movie.  David caught it Saturday morning while I checked out Friday night's opener.

socialnetwork1.jpg

Timberlake and Eisenberg as Parker and Zuckerberg

DS: When I told one of my friends that I was going to see "Social Network" he kidded me that Facebook would shut me down if I posted a negative review. Well no need to worry about that because this is truly one of the better movies to come out in quite a while.
 
SL: The film had been getting a lot of advance hype, and it certainly lived up to the billing. 

DS: My guess is that most people have no idea of the genesis of Facebook. Like many, I have pretty much taken it for granted and never really delved into how it started and by whom. It has just become a part of my daily life and the same for so many others as there are now five hundred million Facebook members. Mark Zuckerberg is the principal founder and owner of Facebook, and this movie is mainly about him, and how this idea grew into an incredible enterprise. So successful in fact, that Zuckerberg was a billionaire before he even hit his mid twenties

SL: Aaron Sorkin (The American President, The West Wing) wrote the screenplay based on Ben Mezrich 2009 book "The Accidental Billionaires."  Mezrich also wrote "Bringing Down the House," which was the story of the MIT Blackjack team taking Las Vegas and other casinos for millions with a sophisticated card counting system.  In that book, the author stretched the truth about the young MIT whiz kids, according to several former members, so it would come as no surprise that some of the details in the Facebook novel may have been embellished as well.  Co-founder Eduardo Saverin was a source for much of Mezrich information.
 

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckeberg

DS: The story of the movie evolves around Zuckerberg (played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg) and whether or not he got the idea for Facebook by stealing the idea of a social network site in development by three other Harvard Students, and making it his own. The film goes back and forth between a pair of depositions of people suing him and the story of how Facebook got its start from three different perspectives. Zuckerberg is portrayed as almost anti social with an incredible chip on his shoulder. He is off the charts brilliant but just not able to have normal human interaction. I'm not sure if he is indeed like this in real life but in the movie he is called an asshole numerous times and the word fits.

SL: Having been involved in two Internet startups, I can totally understand how one's life can be consumed by the process of starting, nurturing, and growing a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Others may have claimed to had the idea, but Zuckerberg did all the "heavy lifting."  Only Saverin, who fronted the initial seed money, ought to have any legitimate claims.  The legal scenes are notable, mostly for the was Eisenberg displays Zuckerberg's contempt for the process, and having to deal with the plaintiffs.DS: Justin Timberlake plays a key role as Sean Parker (one of the co-founders of Napster) who took a strong interest in the Facebook, and really helped Zuckerberg catapult the product into the big time.  It also caused some dissention between Zuckerberg and Saverin.  Timberlake is a surprising good actor. Not many singers can make the switch to this medium but he has done awfully well in his few roles on the big screen.
 
SL: David Fincher direction seeps the movie going without having to resort to Hollywood special effects, just the superb dialogue penned by Sorkin. 

DS: there hasn't been a movie with such good dialogue in it since "Up In The Air".

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Rooney Mara as Zuckerberg's girlfriend

SL: The actress who plays Zuckerberg's first girlfriend is Rooney Mara, a relative of both the Rooneys that own the Steelers, and the Mara family that co-owns the New York Giants.  She had been selected to play the role of Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood version of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Mara has a small role at the beginning and reappears later in the film, but her character is probably responsible for the events that led to the creation of Facebook.

DS: A sure fire mark of a good movie is when a full theatre is quiet and engrossed in what they are watching. No people yapping and I didn't see one person head to the bathroom in a movie that lasted over two hours. I will tell you that there was a long line afterwards. I guess the better the movie the longer you will hold your bladder.

SL: I will normally glance at my watch to see when a film approaches the two hour or finish time.  I didn't even make a time check until it was the last scene.  Like I said earlier, not bad for a film with no car chases, explosions, gun fights, or Bruce Willis.

A brilliant movie, both of us rate it a grand slam - four stars.

 

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