The Social Network: Totally Lived Up to My Trailer Expectations

By Megan Lane · October 4, 2010

I’ve been pretty much obsessed with The Social Network for months.  I’ve already referenced the trailer in other reviews and Preston Garrett is most likely annoyed at the fact that I’ve been emailing him every week to remind him that I “called the facebook movie.”  Needless to say, I was not disappointed.  It.  Was.  Awesome.

The Social Network introduces us to the youngest billionare in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, (Jesse Eisenberg) and the story of how the facebook was founded.  Simoultaneously, we watch the depositions of Mark as he is sued by three Harvard colleagues who claim they came up with the idea of Facebook as well as his best friend and former business partner, Eduardo (Andrew Garfield).

Here is a rash statement that I think you will find completely irrefuteable: Aaron Sorkin is the best dialogue writer in the entire world.  I dare you to prove me wrong.  The man has a gift unseen in other screenwriters.  His exposition and character development are so well immersed in characters’ conversations that they are almost unrecognizable.  He can tell you everything you need to know without actually telling you.  The only difference between The Social Network and Sorkin classics like The American President (1995), The West Wing (1999) and A Few Good Men (1992) is that the characters are sitting down a lot more.

Sorkin created characters who we hate, but love, the most pointed being Mark Zuckerberg.  Zuckerberg lacks any sort of empathy or accountability.  Yet at the same time, he’s a tragically unhappy soul who the audience cannot help but feel sad for.  Jesse Eisenberg brought Sorkin’s words to the big screen, continuously proving that he can hold a movie on his own and his IMDb Starmeter will only go up from here.

Still, the most recognizable star was Justin Timberlake, portraying the inventor of Napster and mentor to Zuckerberg, Sean Parker.  Timberlake’s performance makes us forget that he was ever pretending to be a puppet while singing “Bye Bye Bye”.   He’s the perfect choice for an arrogant asshole who you definitely want to be friends with.

David Fincher’s direction was equally brilliant.  The film noir style kept audiences on the edge of their seats throughout the movie.  Despite the fact that much of the story is made up of depositions and conversations about code, the tension is continuously high, similar to that of a thriller leaving wondering what might happen next.  Even though this is a story about one of the most well-known figures in the tech industry, it is surprising at every turn.

If I had one criticism, I’d say the ending was slightly abrupt.  Though it did feel that the story had been told, the ending lacked emotion.  There was no final character growth or development.  It almost felt like Fincher ran out of time and had to wrap up in thirty seconds what should have been seven minutes.  If that were true, he might have chosen to shorten some of the superfluous scenes in exchange for a final interaction between Mark and Eduardo in which we are given more than just the facts of their settlement.

The Social Network is the second movie of 2010 that I see being contender come Oscar season (the first being Inception, of course).  Why no one thought of a David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin pairing until now is beyond me.

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