“The Social Network” explores the personal drama behind the creation of Facebook. What could have been a tedious story of corporate jargon is instead a superbly crafted drama that mirrors the site itself by detailing multiple characters’ perceptions of others and the events that surround them. It is all a matter of perception, and no one, not even the audience, is sure of the truth.
“The Social Network” follows Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as he develops the social networking site — from the page’s humble beginnings in a messy dorm room to a multi-billion dollar net worth, and all the lawsuits and broken relationships in between.
Writer Aaron Sorkin uses dialogue to intricately pack both plot and character information into nearly every scene. Zuckerberg’s blogging rant against his former girlfriend explains his intricate knowledge of computer coding and how he uses that to understand interpersonal relationships. The viewer learns he is indeed narcissistic, but the only way he can figure out the world is through his technical lens. The fact that Zuckerberg is both the protagonist and antagonist makes the film all the more gripping.
The quality acting only enhances the already exceptional dialogue. Eisenberg’s portrayal of Zuckerberg is a particularly fascinating blend of emotions. There always seems to be an ulterior motive behind his dialogue, yet the young computer genius is more than just a ruthless machine of a man — he legitimately thinks all his actions are justified. Eisenberg embodies a mix of shark-like intensity and desire to prove himself, which leaves the audience not sure whether they should despise or sympathize with Zuckerberg. The wonderful thing is that no view is wrong.
Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg’s business partner and only friend, who ends up suing the billionaire, brings the perfect mix of sincerity and exasperation as he evolves from defending Zuckerberg to defending himself from Zuckerberg. Armie Hammer plays both of the Winklevoss twins — the brothers who accuse Zuckerberg of stealing their idea — with such subtle differences that they become two complete individuals. Cameron is more cautious and polite, while Tyler is hotheaded and vocal.
Editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall keep the story clear through the lawsuit scenes by cutting continuous sentences from different characters together, showing how past actions affect the present suits. They cut montages, like the rich party world and the crew competitions of the Winklevoss brothers, in time with the tense, technically experimental score, written by Atticus Ross and former Nine Inch Nails member Trent Reznor. All of these areas — the story, acting and technical aspects — are guided by director David Fincher. His exceptional leadership makes the work of the editors, actors and writer shine all the brighter.
What makes the film work so well is how the audience never knows what to make of the characters. They are detached, ferocious and sincere — and that is exactly what makes them so compelling.
“The Social Network” was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher. The movie is based on the novel “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich.