The Social Network
by M. Faust
There’s not doubt that this hotly anticipated movie by the team of writer Adam Sorkin (TV’s West Wing) and director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) will rule the box office this weekend, and maybe next as well. Whether it retains an audience after that is what matters, because if it does it will mean that audiences will be reacting positively to a film that, surface topicality aside, really exists for no more reason than to indulge the sheer joy of well crafted storytelling. It is of course based on the founding of the social networking site FaceBook, which if you believe the numbers is used by one out of every 16 people on the planet. It follows the career of Harvard computer genius Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) from the night his supercilious snarkiness drives his girlfriend away to the legal deposition sessions as his former friends sue him for what they say is their share of the company. But the fact that it is a contemporary story (it opens in fall 2003) doesn’t give it any special relevance to modern culture: Catfish, which also opens this weekend, has a lot more to say about online relationships than Sorkin and Fincher do. It is a beautifully crafted, well acted tale that couldn’t be more familiar: Think of Citizen Kane, or The Bad and the Beautiful, or Amadeus. Eisenberg will never be a big star, but in roles like this he’s brilliant, able to deliver whip-like dialogue (Sorkin’s specialty) with just enough suggestion of the pain behind the barbs. He’s matched by Andrew Garfield as Zuckerberg’s partner Eduardo Saverin, a nice guy of mediocre talents and limited vision. I don’t know what kids who go to see it on the basis of the Facebook connection will think of it, but if they get caught up in it it will be a giant blow for classical Hollywood filmmaking.
Watch the trailer for The Social Network
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