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Director David Fincher is back in fighting form! Those fearing he may have lost some of his bite with the ponderous "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" or the disappointing returns of the criminally overlooked "Zodiac" need not worry. "The Social Network" is a caustically funny and incredibly contemporary look at the evolution of Facebook. Playing like a thriller and a blisteringly dark comedy, this terrific film may be Fincher's most sophisticated piece to date (and certainly his most riveting since the days of "Seven" and "Fight Club"). On paper, "The Social Network" might not sound exhilarating but with the perfect screenwriter (Aaron Sorkin) and the perfect cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer)--Fincher's tale of betrayal, pride, and avarice has become one of this year's must see films.

While I'm sure that everyone knows the subject matter of "The Social Network"--very briefly, the film's plot construction is structured as two pieces of litigation are being brought against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (played with intensity by Eisenberg). One lawsuit is from his former business partner and best friend--a co-founder of the original website who got systematically squeezed out. The other is by a trio of Harvard grads (Armie Hammer plays 2 of the 3, they're twins, in a starmaking performance!) who claim Zuckerberg stole the idea from them after he was hired to create an exclusive dating site. Seen through these concurrent cases, deftly edited with flashback footage, the full picture starts to unravel. From Zuckerberg's social ineptitude, but superior intellect, a social revolution was born. And the more powerful Facebook grew, the more disconnected Zuckerberg became to his only friends and compelled by the drive for domination (his ultimate sense of acceptance).

Make no mistake, while "The Social Network" is incredibly smart and literate, it is also grandly entertaining. Screenwriter Sorkin (creator of "The West Wing" and my favorite "Sports Night") has put together what, in my opinion, is the best screenplay of the year. Sorkin is known for his whip fast dialogue and it is spot-on here! The movie is corrosively witty and uncompromisingly in your face. The film is cast with thoroughly unlikable types in a battle for supremacy. Eisenberg has never been better--no doubt Zuckerberg is a tool (both before and after his success), but Eisenberg makes you understand why and (I'm startled to say) actually appreciate it. Timberlake (as oily Napster creator Sean Parker) is a fantastically appealing devil-in-disguise, but as much as you may dislike him--he was integral to Facebook going wide. Hammer, as I said, is the film's biggest surprise. And Andrew Garfield, as Zuckerberg's betrayed partner, is vivid and alive--and, dare I say, the only character to elicit actual sympathy. But again, the film is merciless--even though we know that Garfield is screwed, we also know that it was an essential part of the successful expansion of Facebook. Business ethics be darned.

"The Social Network" is grown-up entertainment that has much to say about success in the modern era. I appreciated that no one veered away from the heart of darkness in this morality piece--that's what makes everything seem so relevant. Can someone be both repugnant and admirable? If you told me earlier in the year that a film about computer geeks at a keyboard would be edge-of-your-seat entertainment, I wouldn't have believed it. But here, I go. For sheer entertainment, remarkable performances, and an incredibly sophisticated screenplay--"The Social Network" is easily one of my favorite films of the year! Easily. KGHarris, 10/10.
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on July 19, 2014
What you get with The Social Network is the most fascinating character study since The Conversation. The Social Network is about the creators of Facebook, specifically a young man named Mark Zuckerberg, as portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, who's successes only amplify his guarded insecurity and social ineptitude. Many proponents and critical champions of the film have had the gaul to herald The Social Network as my generation's Citizen Kane. Well... I think that's a completely accurate statement to make. Even I agree with them. It actually is my generation's Citizen Kane. The themes and nods are all there. Hearst as Zuckerberg, right down to the sled. Refresh, refresh, refresh. The Social Network is a very touching and revealing character study about a troubled young man who will become wholly emblematic of his time and place.

"You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount."

The film opens with a lengthy scene of dialogue between Mark and his girlfriend. What's so unique about it is that you have to listen closely because the scene is jumbled with the chatter of a murmuring pub. And you can hear the background noise louder than you would like to have it or have been used to hearing it in other films. It's almost like we're right there with them, listening in. It's hard to hear comfortably at parts but I find that decision enthralling. Director David Fincher is trying to tell us something here, he's trying to prepare his audience. He's telling them to listen up and pay attention because this movie demands it. He uses this same tool later on in the film at a night club where Mark is being taken under the wing of a character with questionable motives. Fincher says once again, listen closely. This is a scene that demands concentration. Read between the lines, Mark is. Why aren't you?

Let's talk about the star of the film, Jesse Eisenberg as Mark, for he is going to be the reason why this film will never be forgotten. Eisenberg was outstanding here, laying down the best performance in film since the '70s. Naturalistic and contained, it was an absolutely beautiful portrayal. It harked back to Al Pacino's Michael Corleone from The Godfather Part Two, it was that impressive. What Eisenberg was able to do with Mark was something very precise. He made the character a complex one. One that was guarded, calculated, methodical, and incredibly lonely. A character that can be very cold and sad and unforgivably oblivious.

The idea proposed by Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is an interesting one, that the creator of a website designed to connect people around the world to all of their friends is not only socially off-putting but is so selfish and vengeful that he has no friends of his own. He has no support system. Eisenberg makes Mark out to be a loveless, wounded, and perpetually hurt person with quiet anger and resentment. The most perplexing aspect of Mark's character is that he is opaque and protective, resentful but there is a dying desire there as well. A want not of fortune but of impulse. I don't think Mark wants to be so cold. Then again, sometimes I think that's exactly how we wants to be perceived. He never really seems to honestly enjoy his successes. He never acts like he wants the money. He never really seems to want much more other than to be seen as someone stronger than he is. He wants to be different. Eisenberg communicates things along the lines of self-punishment and hatred with Mark. It's in his face and the quiver and shake of his voice. It's all in how a person so precise can be so uncomfortable in his own skin.

Eisenberg is a very responsive actor and the key to his performance is in his reactions. The little ticks that he does or the facial stretches that are both surprising and full of pathos. Eisenberg did something extraordinary in The Social Network. Truth be told, this was an unsurmountable performance, mammoth in poignancy and tragedy. What Eisenberg was able to communicate with his portrayal of Mark is something for the history books. If this film will be remembered for anything, I hope that it will be because of him. Such a complex delivery! I love that The Social Network is not really a film about Facebook but a complex, intimate, and puzzling character study of the touching from a distance variety. His performance is made of composites, all of which equally compounding and involved. Eisenberg's intricate approach, along with the occasional trip of haywire, is only augmented by Mark's impenetrable and inaccessible frozen heart.

Or is it even frozen? Maybe he's a kid who has a whole lot of heart but doesn't know how to use it. He had forgotten how a long time ago. Now he just is. But does he want to be? Does he yearn? In a performance that touches upon both the easily readable and the abstruse, Eisenberg molds a legendary character. A pillar of the actor's cinema. A startlingly perfect performance from an actor who has obviously mastered the craft. He got lost in Mark. I'm sure of it. This role had so many layers and it only gets more astonishing the more of them you peel back. Eisenberg was stunning here. A truly perfect and touching performance. Like I said, one of the best performances I have ever seen.

What is this film trying to say about my generation? Honestly, I don't really care much about that aspect of it. With the exception of the actors in participation, the rest of the filmmakers were older men who are most likely out of touch. I mean, my generation is inherently out of touch by nature so how could Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher know any better? This is not to say that Sorkin's script isn't great or that Fincher's vision wasn't coherent, fluid, and interesting to watch. I'm only saying that this film may not be the generation defining film in terms of territory and material, but it is generation defining in terms of acting and character. Eisenberg towers over his contemporaries. I've been waiting for an actor like him to come around for a very long time to kind of show the way for the others. I also hope that this film brings the character study back into popular demand. It's been a few years now since The Social Network was released and films just aren't seeming to catch on. It was a special kind of film and I guess we're not headed toward a new renaissance but at least it existed. A reminder of what the medium can accomplish. It focused on and examined a character who was not only a complicated one but one that shared a great likeness to it's coeval and modern audience. In the idea that Mark as a character is representative of my generation's cold resolve, the film is truly generation defining. It might not be the film my generation claimed but it's the one it deserved. It may not be an exact interpretation of my generation but it makes for a damn good silhouette of it.

One of my all-time favorite films.
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on May 23, 2015
I liked the movie. Thought it really got across well the personality of a very bright, ambitious but insecure and egotistical computer person who gets his extraordinary success at the cost of trampling collaborators and a girlfriend. Of course he's very young - just a college kid - and somewhat drunk a lot of the time; anyone could have made some of the same kinds of mistakes in his situation. The film is a bit like a moral tale is showing you that you've got to stay away from the internet when upset and beery. It also shows how central creator characters forget that they had collaborators as their projects gain traction. They only see their contributions. But, hey, a pretty amazing website was born and nobody got killed, just a couple of relationships, and, in the end, Zuckerberg made things right, apparently, in the legal settlements. I wondered about whether the twins really were responsible for the idea, since, in all that time they never did a project like that themselves. Not sure they really had a case against Zuckerberg.
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on March 27, 2015
Nice evocation of that curious wonderland where genius and pathology intersect, and where friendship, love, and the more meaningful human emotions get pushed so far into the background as to appear like fuzzy dots on the horizon. It's fascinating and ironic to see how that fount of modern social connectivity--Facebook--was the brainchild of so much of one man's narcissism.
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on April 29, 2016
My favorite movie of all time. The dialogue is witty, the characters are interesting, the cinematography is beautiful, the soundtrack (created by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross) is excellent, and the direction is impeccable. Fincher's movies are consistently top notch, and this is no exception.
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on September 5, 2015
This movie was actually a lot better than I had anticipated. There where some great actors cast, and the story behind how Facebook came to be is quite surprising. The view of the movie is some-what of a flashback type which can definitely get confusing at times; just a head's up.
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on June 19, 2015
Very interesting story and very well played by Jessie Eisenberg. For what could be a dry topic, the story keeps you engaged. Justin Timberlake has become a very good actor as well and is very good in his role.
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on January 28, 2016
Great film. Unfortunately, I now think Jesse Eisenberg is Mark Zuckerberg. Certainly better looking, and I'm sure while he's not as rich, Jesse ain't hurting...know what I mean? Seriously, I have a hard time seeing Jesse in any of his other movies as that movies character. Fortunately, he rocks as an actor and I start seeing him in that role pretty early. So, it's all cool. Now, Nicholas Cage, he's always Nichols Cage just playing a role. Guess that's why I won't be writing a Nichols Cage movie review...but probably a Jesse movie again.
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on May 7, 2015
I thought the movie brought a number of things together nicely. One learns about today's college life, venture capitalism, law suits, how start ups work. The characters in this movie are well developed and well played. Pace is great and the whole film I believe is fantastic
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on September 6, 2011
I didn't quite understand it at first. "A movie about facebook? Why?" I thought to myself. It seemed like a boring tale -- boy creates website, website goes big, boy makes billions of dollars. However, the tale is much more intriguing. This is the story of a no-holds-barred, out-for-blood internet domination.

There are very few films I will watch repeatedly, and this is one of them. In fact, the first time I watched it was late one night, and I watched it again the very next morning. Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is neurotic and spot-on. Justin Timberlake plays a slimy Sean Parker. Andrew Garfield is amazing as Eduardo Saverin, and is really the only character in the drama to elicit any real sympathy from the audience.

If you haven't seen The Social Network yet, you definitely should. I can honestly see why it was hailed as "film of the year."
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