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It’s hard to imagine a world without Facebook. Ever since it originated in 2004 and
slowly but surely integrated into our everyday lives (and in turn spawning countless
variations to its likeness) the idea that modem life existed at all without Mark
Zuckerberg’s little undertaking seems almost unthinkable. While David Fincher’s The
Social Network (2010) highly critical— borderline scathing-account of Zuckerberg’s
controversial social media outlet may not be a factotum of facts, it surely makes for a
brainy and provoking slice of entertainment.
Fincher is no stranger for providing an impressive display of powerful imagery. The
Social Network is bathed in his signature Baroque lighting (exquisitely captured by
cinematographer, and longtime Fincher collaborator, Jeff Cronenweth); a meditative
locality for its ambitious young protagonist (Jesse Eisenberg) to wrestle with his own
insecurities. This sublimely nightmarish landscapes of highly contrasted imaging and
brooding atmosphere are heightened by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ Oscar-winning
score: an eerie concoction of industrial, techno, and ambient synthesizers.
Fincher is only as good as his script, however, and that’s where the real star of the
film — in the guise of Aaron Sorkin ’s screenplay (also a statuette receiver )—shines brightest.
Based off Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of
Facebook, the talented Sorkin serves up plenty of delicious dialogue and storytelling
savvy, yet still manages to create a brisk enough pace to sustain us for two hours. Sharp,
funny, and perceptive, Sorkin’s writing is a playing field for even the most amateurish
thespian to glow.
That’s not suggesting Eisenberg and company aren’t up to the task. Eisenberg’s patented
neuroticism and precarious idiosyncrasies are aptly suited for his portrayal of this
Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield’s boyish charm amply embodies the naivete of his closest
companion—who incidentally ends up suing him—and Justin Timberlake has never been
better as Sean Parker, the ebullient entrepreneur (and digital music pioneer) who aids in
catapulting Zuckerberg’s little coding project into a pop-culture phenomenon. Armie
Hammer is also fun in a dual role as the Winklevoss brothers: twin brothers and Harvard
who accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea.
The Social Network is a penetrating and ingeniously crafted drama about one of the
twenty-first century’s most significant innovations. It would be foolish to omit it from any
of the best films of the 2010s.