From Fincher's directorial precision to the superb cast's delivery of Sorkin's machine-gun dialogue and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's ominous score, it's a uniformly excellent film - a cautionary tale that effortlessly hardwires into here and now. "This is our time," proclaims Justin Timberlake's flamboyant Napster founder Sean Parker at one point. He may as well be addressing the entire Twittering/Facebooking/Myspacing community of Gen Y.
The narrative is framed around two depositions, which see Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at loggerheads with twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer) and his one-time best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) over the origins and ownership of Facebook. From these pivotal moments, the story flashes back to detail the formation of the social network, which sprang from a romantically-spurned Zuckerberg hacking into Harvard servers and building a campus 'Hot or Not' style site featuring female students. Notoriety swiftly followed and the Winklevoss siblings (or Winklevi as Zuckerberg prefers) bring him in to make an exclusive networking site for Harvard students and alumni. Zuckerberg, though, refines and improves the idea and partners up with Saverin to form "The Facebook".
The network becomes a campus phenomenon ("Facebook me!" is a buzz phrase) and it expands to other universities before hitting the outside world. Mark and Eduardo's popularity surges, but cracks start to show in their friendship. Eduardo wants to monetise the site, something that Mark objects to. His reasoning, further backed up by an encounter with Parker (Justin Timberlake in a scene-stealing turn), is that they’ll lose all cool and credibility if they make money off the site. All the while, the threat of legal action from the Winklevoss twins looms.
Fincher melds The Social Network into a riveting study on the perils of power and money, flipping Zuckerberg from socially-maladjusted college student into a young man governed by obsession, greed and entitlement. Eisenberg has never been better. The film is bookended by scenes of Zuckerberg and the girl he's pining for - Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). In the first, she tells him people will dislike him not because he's a nerd, but because he's an asshole; in the last, they're not even face-to-face. Paradoxically, Zuckerberg has everything and nothing. He's the world's youngest billionaire but at what cost? He created a monster in Facebook and in turn became its biggest victim.
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