Fincher’s clever Facebook film

Everyone who has accessed the internet in the past five years must at least have heard of Facebook, if not used it. It has become a part of daily life for many people over the whole world and so it seems inevitable that there would be some sort of film made about the phenomenon — and “The Social Network” is that film.


'The Social Network' isn't a historically accurate documentary about Facebook - and is better for it. Photo: Columbia Pictures

Aaron Sorkin, the writer of works such as “The West Wing”, adapted the screenplay for this film from Ben Mezrich’s book, “The Accidental Billionaires”, and joined with Fight Club director, David Fincher in the production of The Social Network: a docu-drama which follows Mark Zuckerberg’s meteoric rise after creating the website, Facebook.

It cleverly tells the story using three narratives; the creation of the site from Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) university dorm at Harvard and two court cases made against Zuckerberg.  The book which the film is based on says the story is “a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal” which is more than a suitable description.

The Social Network has a quick-paced script that will catch you out if you aren’t concentrating, which is clearly well created and equally well performed by the cast. Particularly strong is the portrayal of Zuckerberg’s character, coming across as uninterested and tactless and even as an “asshole”, as is described in the film.

Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), co-founder and one of the plaintiffs against Zuckerberg, and is a character which the viewer can relate to a bit more. He plays Saverin as a genuine man who struggles with friendship and business, portraying a range of emotion and becoming the one character you really feel for.

Justin Timberlake appears in “The Social Network” and maybe surprisingly he puts in a decent performance. Playing Sean Parker, already successful from his experiences with Napster and now interested in Facebook, he is the main influence on Zuckerberg and Timberlake is as smug, arrogant, and care-free as could be, which makes an interesting contrast to the lead character.

As well as the script and acting, the production of The Social Network has to be mentioned. Fincher worked with Jeff Cronenweth, director of photography, who he worked with on Fight Club, and they’ve done some more good work here. The use of lighting, the shots and the filtering of different shots work beautifully and the creation of the Winklevoss twins using just one actor is ingenious, especially when you see how well cast Armie Hammer is in playing them.

It’s fair to say that many people wondered how the story of the foundations of Facebook would make a good film. Fincher and Sorkin have managed to just about do that, be it from the allegedly extra fiction elements from the original book or from the way they have put the film together.

The use of the three storylines mixing and intertwining is very clever and keeps you on the edge of your seat, keeps you interested, but it doesn’t really draw you to want to see it again.

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