October 1, 2010

The Social Network - 2010

Director: David Fincher
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara

"A guy who makes a nice chair doesn't owe money to everyone who's ever made a chair." The latest work from the man who brought us Fight Club and Curious Case of Benjamin Button depicts the founding of everyone's favorite social networking site by Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg), as well as the lawsuits brought upon him by former best friend Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) and Harvard rivals Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Hammer & Hammer).

"Oh, no," they said. "No one could EVER make a movie about Facebook," they said. "The trailer's overdramatic and some of the facts are exaggerated," they said. With full confidence, I can say this: THEY WERE WRONG. This was my most anticipated film of 2010, and it didn't disappoint in the least. Sorkin's script makes this a film not merely about Facebook, but things like greed, betrayal, friendship, and determination, and Fincher's direction allows his dialogue to properly shine, instead of such lines as "I was drunk, and angry, and blogging," falling flat and sounding ridiculous. The script's structured very well, alternating between the depositions and an in media res depiction of the events in question. Also, Fincher's choice of using mostly up-and-coming actors enhances the need of the main characters to prove their self-worth. Rooney Mara (cast as the female lead in Fincher's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) doesn't get much screentime, but certainly makes the most of what she has, even despite her "The Internet is written in ink" line. Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker in Marc Webb's Spider-Man reboot) also continues to impress from his role in last year's Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; his American accent is flawless, and he does a great job portraying the scorned-yet-concerned friend. Armie Hammer (Harrison Bergeron in the short film 2081 and the almost-Batman) excels in his dual role as the Winklevoss twins, getting some of the best lines in the film ("I'm 6'5", 220 pounds, and there are two of me"). Justin Timberlake is also nigh-flawless as Napster founder Sean Parker; his performance made me entirely forget that he ever went onstage for screaming teenage girls and sang songs like "Tearin' Up My Heart." And naturally, Jesse Eisenberg is spot-on; despite the occasional light-hearted moment, I can see him using this role as a stepping-stone to more serious fare than his past work. Audio in the club and party scenes was wholly immersive, shaking the walls of the theater and obscuring some dialogue (but in a way that works). The final scene (which I have already spoiled for one person too many) is incredibly humanizing, which is very hard to do for a character that the film spends a good deal of time besmirching. It's something remarkably identifiable for anyone remotely familiar with the workings of the site. I personally ended up on Zuckerberg's side, thinking the lawsuits against him were excessive and unnecessary. This is the film of the year and needs to be seen YESTERDAY. A+
And on an MPAA-related front, this PG-13 film was allowed two non-sexual uses of the F-word, as well as a smattering of lesser profanity. Progress is a wonderful thing.

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