Contributed By Kevin Wong
What is the one thing that most people from 8 to 80 have in common with each other nowadays? It’s a Facebook account. Despite this, and the fact that Facebook currently has more than 500 million users, one wonders how entertaining and compelling a movie about computer programing can actually get.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES RELEASING INTERNATIONAL|
Enter the sharp and snappy script-writing genius of Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and the punchy directing style of David Fincher (Fight Club), and what you get is a riveting drama about friendship, betrayal and jealousy—never mind that the authenticity of a big portion of the content is suspect.
Adapted from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 non-fiction book The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network revolves around Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), then a Harvard University undergraduate, and how he started the social networking site. The development of his relationships with key characters including his university mate, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) gives ground to the legal complications surrounding Facebook’s origins, fleshed out in flashbacks and courtroom depositions. The dialogue, intermittently laced with deadpan humor, is relentlessly engaging—no geek talk at all; in other words. Eisenberg puts his best foot forward as the awkward, socially inept Zuckerberg who, with the burgeoning success of Facebook, morphs into someone even more unlikeable—a cold and ruthless visionary.
Naturally, Zuckerberg himself has denied the movie’s portrayal of himself, saying that the only thing they managed to get right was the clothes he wore—not too unbelievable, considering that Mezrich had never spoken to him before; most of the input for his character had been provided by Saverin, Facebook’s initial business manager. While this raises the question of where the lines ought to be drawn with regards to fictionalization in the name of entertainment, solid entertainment this one is, for a whole two hours straight.