Monday, 11 October 2010

The Social Network

I was in two minds about whether to see The Social Network or The Facebook movie as it has been dubbed. However, good reviews and recommendations got me intrigued and I decided to pop along to an advanced screening at my local cinema. The Social Network is based on the court cases against Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg where he is sued by his former best friend and the Winkleviss twins for allegedly stealing their idea. The film starts off when Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg is at Harvard and after an argument with his girlfriend in which she dumps him, he returns to his room and slags her off on his blog which he turns into a site called FashMash which rates the attractiveness of the female students on campus. He is punished with six months academic probation but is undeterred because his site has received 22,000 hits in two hours. The overwhelming success of the site brings him to the attention of the wealthy Winkleviss twin brothers both played by Arnie Hammer and their sidekick, Divya Narendra played by Max Minghella. They have an idea about building a website called Harvard Connection and they want him to do the programming. He takes on the project but at the same time approaches his friend, Eduardo Saverin played by Andrew Garfield about creating a social networking site exclusively for Harvard students which will be called
Eduardo is in and begins to bankroll the project and also supplies his valuable connections from Phoenix S-K final club which is a powerful fraternity. When the site is launched it is a total phenomenon and when the Divya and the Winkleviss brothers find out about the site they are furious and accuse Mark of stealing their idea. Mark is undeterred and decides to expand the site to other Universities such as Columbia and Yale and he and Eduardo put together a plan for expansion. The more successful the site gets the more angrier Divya and the Winkleviss get but the site is a long way away from the global icon that it is now. It takes the presence of Napster founder, Sean Parker played by Justin Timberlake to get thefacebook to the level it is now. His first suggestion is small but vital - that Mark and Eduardo drop 'the' from the title so it is just Facebook. He also persuades Mark to move to Silicon Valley as that is where all the action is while Eduardo stays in New York in order to drum up some advertising. However cracks begin to show in Mark and Eduardo's friendship as they have differences on Sean's involvement in Facebook which ends with Eduardo freezing the business account. After Mark secures a substantial amount of funding from a business angel, Eduardo finds himself brutally cut out of the future of Facebook and threatens legal action. Meanwhile the Winkleviss brothers along with Diviya decide it is time to go down the legal route and decide to sue Facebook.
The Social Network is a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be and has quite a few great one liners. There are two parallel stories being told - how Zuckerbeg created Facebok with the money from his best friend and the law suits that followed afterwards. Both  are intriguing. Aaron Sorkin delivers a cracking script here and we all know how much he loves a court room drama remember A Few Good Men? The film really demonstrates not only the social ineptness of Mark Zuckerberg and his 'revenge of the nerd' syndrome but at the same time it also shows the world of privilege and self entitlement that a lot of Harvard students are born into. From the cliquey and almost bullishness of the fraternity clubs where new members are forced to perform demeaning tasks in order to join and in return will be rewarded with old school status to the movers and shakers in the US. Justin Timberlake adds much needed humour in his role as the enigmatic but slimy, Sean Parker - not sure if the performance really warrants an Oscar nomination though. The Social Network offers no happy or sad ending, just an ending that shows that success is hollow if you have to resort to screwing your friends over in order to get to the top. Mark Zuckerbeg comes off as a cold and angry sociopath who is simply an insecure jerk. The irony of Facebook's success is is obvious for all to see - the guy who is responsible for creating a space where millions of people can reconnect with their friends did not have any himself.

The Social Network is out on general release on Friday.

Video and images supplied by Sony Picture Releasing.

2 cool comments:

pumpkinmommy said...

I have reconnected with people I have not heard from in over two decades through Facebook, so I find it amazing that this person has no friends. But then again, after everything that has happened, who would want to be?

City Girl (EC1) said...

Great review and I love your site! I am now following and looking forward to more :) xx