Unlike with "Inception", movie critics are spot-on in their praise of this telling of how Facebook came to be through Mark Zuckerberg's initial idea 'borrowed' from twin crew rowers at Harvard and the havoc it's inception and follow-through affects Mark, his friends and soon-to-be enemies around him. What is ultimately a simple success story becomes wildly fascinating in it's telling through director David Fincher and actors Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake.
Eisenberg, as the Harvard student who created Facebook in 2004, is mesmerizing to watch. I've heard critics comment that Mark Zuckerberg's asshole personality and somewhat sociapathic behavior portrayed in this movie is not something very endearing. Not that the performance is bad, just that you want to dislike this college student turned billionaire. I actually disagree. I loved how he just put it right out there about who he was, what he wanted, who he did and didn't want to be associated with. He just cuts through all the bullshit of people and their ofttimes annoying interactions. I actually admired Jesse Eisenberg portrayal of Zuckerberg as not being out for himself but being out for what he could achieve and focusing on the potential for how cool the Facebook site could be, as opposed to how much money he could make. Ultimately, Eisenberg carries the movie with perfect pitch. This is definitely his best performance to date.
Justin Timberlake is nothing short of electric in this movie. Portraying Napster creator Sean Parker, he moves like a smooth criminal from Facebook interested-party hoping to connect with Zuckerberg, later to a co-shareholder of the company. Every scene Timberlake is in crackles, and you just can't take your eyes off him whenever he's onscreen. The future Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield, also turns in a great performance and adds to the trifecta of power, literally portraying Mark Zuckerberg's only real friend and financial partner until almost the end.
David Fincher's direction is outstanding and he's created a seriously tight film. Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall editing breaks this movie out of what could have been a simple telling of events that led to a website's birth, and that could have also been boring as hell. The editorial pacing not only moves the story along in a nicely creative fashion, but is sometimes joyfully quirky. Quick cuts back and forth in the timeline of events are masterfully seamless with good storytelling satisfaction. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin is sharply paced; clever dialogue flows with well-oiled precision. The combined efforts of Fincher, Baxter, Wall, and Sorkin had me thinking 'Why can't more movies snap like this?' about halfway through the second act.
And on a side note, the one moment that really had me sit up was when Timberlake's character makes a comment about the fact that "The Towering Inferno" was filmed in the building they were in...the exact building I pointed at and motioned to Rebecca sitting next to me just five seconds prior in an establishing exterior shot as being that exact location! Not something just ANYONE would recognize or appreciate, but being a fan of that movie it just made he smile and say 'YES!!!' slightly under my breath as he acknowledged it.
Is this 'the movie of the decade' as a few critics are praising? I don't know if I could call any film that, but it's certainly one of the very best and most memorable of this year to date. You certainly walk away from it thinking just a little bit differently about that website we log into daily to share with friends, catch up on news and events, and sometimes play games. Did Mark Zuckerberg steal the idea for Facebook from the Harvard twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss? Quite frankly, when you're a college student, what constitutes stealing an idea when there was never any signing of paperwork involved? And straight up if that was in fact the case, then good for Zuckerberg because these guys were two Harvard crew rower assholes who never would have given him the time of day because they were richie elitists. Screw 'em!
Bottom line: "The Social Network" rocks!