Facebook. The website that lets you connect with all your friends (and the occasional “random add”), talk to them using the highly reliable chat function and share the most important thoughts on your mind such as “ow meny bottles of vodka do u fink I can drink in 1 go?” But have you ever wondered how it all started? Didn’t think so. But be grateful that someone did, because this is an immensely entertaining piece of cinema.
In 2003, after a heated argument with his girlfriend resulting in a break up, Mark Zukerberg sat down at his laptop in the grounds of Harvard University and started the ball rolling on his new website idea called Facemash, which involves comparing the appearance of all girls on campus. Obviously, to obtain access to the images he has to bypass the security, which (when found out 4 hours later) gets him kicked out of the university. But more importantly, it grabs the attention of the Winkelvoss brothers; identical twins who have worked on many successful online projects. The approach Zuckerberg with the idea to create a social network site, with the twist that it’s exclusively available to the students of Harvard. After accepting the offer to work on the project with them, Zuckerberg then suggests the same idea to his best friend Eduardo, calling it “thefacebook”, thus starting a court case on the grounds of “idea stealing”…
The Social Network isn’t a typical “memoir” adaptation, although from the start it would appear to be. The narrative appears linear up until about half an hour into it, when we see Zuckerberg looking bored and uninterested, slouched in a chair with lawyers and Eduardo also in the room. This is a courtroom drama that takes place outside the courtroom, and is told in flashbacks. Admittedly, it’s a little disorienting at first, but once the flashbacks become more frequent, it becomes easy to follow.
Jesse Eisenberg, or “the guy we hire if Michael Cera isn’t free”, does a fantastic job at portraying Zuckerberg. Not that many of us would know if he‘d done it badly; the chances of knowing Mark in real life is slim to none. But nonetheless, Eisenberg’s performance cannot be faulted. He creates a character that is undeniably irritating, yet you can’t help feeling a tad sorry for.
All of the supporting cast excel in their roles too; Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) as Edwardo puts in a convincing exhibition, as does Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker. As shocking as it sounds, Timberlake can act. Where he goes from here though is a tough one, because even with a serious performance like this under his belt, I highly doubt he will ever become an A list actor.
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor had control of the musical score, and he has created an audible masterpiece. The music flows along side the images perfectly, and is hauntingly beautiful. It’s safe to say that this film wouldn’t be half the film it is if it didn’t have the right soundtrack; luckily Reznor, being the professional that he is, knew exactly the tone needed and pulled it off immaculately.
It’s important to note that this movie isn’t just about Facebook – it’s so much more. Friendship, loyalty and betrayal are really what The Social Network is about. So don’t worry if you dont have 564 friends, or have never “poked” anyone; this is a film that needs to be seen by anyone who has even the smallest of interest in films.