The Social Network: Film review

8 November 2010

Written by: Meghan Lodwick

Amidst the ever-growing popular addiction that is Facebook, it seemed inevitable a film was on the cards. Acclaimed director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) is the first to have a crack at bringing the biggest social phenomenon in human history to the big screen.

The Social Network outlines the true-story of Mark Zuckerberg, the inventor of Facebook and currently the world’s youngest billionaire. The film guides the audience through Zuckerberg’s creative process as he slowly and meticulously builds a multi-billion dollar empire. Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) plays Harvard undergrad, Zuckerberg as mildly eccentric with socially awkward mannerisms and provides a quirkiness that draws out numerous moments of quick-witted humour.

In an intriguing touch to the film, Fincher mixes the plot with consistent jump-cuts forward in time to multiple law suits Zuckerberg is faced with against former best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and three would-be Harvard entrepreneurs. This juxtaposition of time fills the plot with a sense of the inevitable, relying on the ‘how on earth did we get here?’ theme to keep the audience interested.

Campus life at Harvard University is painted as a separation of the social classes, the prestigious, the pretentious, the nerdy and the drunk. More typically is the awkwardness with which Zuckerberg tries to fit into these surrounds.

Obsessed with getting into one of Harvard’s elusive student clubs, the self-assured teen is buzzing for the next big idea. Together with Eduardo and (to some legal extent) other Harvard students, Zuckerberg builds ‘the Facebook’, with the idle goal of ‘taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.’

Eisenberg is outstanding and appears made for the role of quirky computer geek. He is accompanied by a very promising young talent in Garfield which audiences will no doubt see more of as he is set to take over Toby McGuire’s role in the next Spider-man movie. Singer-come-actor Justin Timberlake plays the role of Sean Parker, inventor of Napster, and is believable as the shady, eye-brow raising businessman.

A film centred on computer nerds, new-age technology and posh college students doesn’t bring much as far as action is concerned and in essence, is 2 hours of conversation. I could somewhat comprehend the groans of annoyance from my girlfriend 40 minutes in, pleading for something different to happen.

However what kept me enthralled throughout The Social Network was that this was the true-story of Facebook. The fact something that started out as a revenge-plot against an ex-girlfriend spawned into a website used by over 500 million people in more than 270 countries was captivating. In a way it leaves you wanting to face palm wondering, ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’

Despite the one-tempo plot, The Social Network works on the idea of an enthralling journey and gives the audience an insight into something they are drawn to everyday, yet truth be told, have no idea why.

Rating:    3.5/5

William Botoulas is a first-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, this is his first piece on upstart.