Were it not for Eduardo Saverin’s reportedly reluctant confiding in Ben Mezrich, the story of Facebook may never have been told. Mezrich eventually wrote the book ‘The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal,’ which was optioned into the movie now known as The Social Network, directed by David Fincher.
Facebook’s CEO and co-founder has done his damnedest to stop the production of this film, and upon viewing it, it’s easy to see why. But it leaves the question about who is getting an unfair wrap if the story is told mostly through Saverin’s point of view. Does this matter? Absolutely not. And here’s why.
From the very announcing that The Social Network would be made, there has been talk about how Facebook, a mostly banal and narcissitic social network could be made into an interesting, let alone compelling feature film. This topic was especially relevant considering Fincher’s last and vastly overrated film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Fincher did well not to film The Social Network like a documentary, but rather as a thriller that goes a mile a minute. It’s this quality of the film that makes us care less about what happened in real life (although sources say The Social Network maintains some level of authenticity), and more about what is going to happen on the screen.
Jesse Eisenberg sits at the center of the drama as Mark Zuckerberg, who, as it turns out, seems to be as socially retarded, and unbalanced as he is a genius. It highlights the humble beginnings of Facebook in a Harvard dorm room between a few buzzed friends bittered by the rejection of females.
The film itself is structured as a series of flashbacks throughout legal proceedings and depositions of Zuckerberg, Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and others bringing suit against Zuckerberg for intellectual property theft. At some point after creating the Facebook, but before monetizing it, Zuckerberg develops quite an infatuation with Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the creator of Napster, and with him in the mix, the somewhat stable business relationship between Zuckerberg and Saverin starts to falter, and with billions of dollars at stake, things get ugly.
What’s most remarkable about this film is the screaming pace that doesn’t give up the entire run time. The wit and speed of the dialog is matched only by the intelligence of the film’s characters. Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor wrote the scathing and accordant score.
I’m reluctant to say that this film is ‘anchored’ by anything. It’s strong in every aspect of its filmmaking. But after the brilliance of the script by Aaron Sorkin (who I’m sure relished the opportunity to write scenes involving doing lines of coke off young coed stomachs), the central performances of Eisenberg and Garfield are surely two of the greatest showcases to be seen. It seems Fincher never wants you to forget that Mark Zuckerberg is the smartest man in the room. And with a lead like Eisenberg, this is impossible. The term Zeitgeist makes me want to punch whoever uses it, but Fincher has truly created a film that captured the Zeitgeist of the social networking generation. This film can’t help but become a classic of our time.
The Social Network was released October 1st, 2010