The Social Network is based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich who also wrote “Bringing Down the House”, which is a great book by the way. The book can’t be an exact account of what actually happened because Mezrich didn’t consult with Mark Zuckerberg at all while writing, but he did talk with Eduardo Saverin who was the co-founder of Facebook and ultimately ended up suing Zuckerberg once he was forced out of the company. So the movie itself, being based on the book, isn’t a 100% accurate account of what happened during the rise of Facebook, instead I like to look at it like I look at the movie 8 Mile. 8 Mile was a good representation of what it took for Eminem to get his big break, but it wasn’t based on his life completely. There were some details that were embellished and some that were probably left completely out. Not everyone’s story makes for a good book or movie. So with regards to The Social Network, not everything you see on screen is exactly what happened in real life, some things were probably embellished and some things could have just been Saverin’s bitterness towards Zuckerberg, it’s always going to be one person’s view against another. So with that being said, let’s talk about the movie itself.
After almost 200 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and almost 27,000 user reviews, The Social Network maintains a 97% and 81%, respectively. I can only recall a couple movies having such high marks on the site after it’s release and those were The Dark Knight and Inception (gotta love Christopher Nolan). And guess what, this movie deserves all of the recognition it’s getting. Obviously David Fincher is an amazing director and when paired up with Aaron Sorkin it’s hard to go wrong, but then when you throw in an incredible performance from Jessie Eisenberg you get something special. Andrew Garfield did a pretty good job as Eduardo Saverin, but I just feel like he was completely over shadowed by Eisenberg. As far as Justin Timberlake goes, as Napster Founder Sean Parker, I hated him, absolutely hated him…. but not as an actor. I feel like he played the role perfectly as I absolutely hated Sean Parker as a person (in the movie, obviously I can’t judge him since I’ve never actually met him). Timberlake played him perfectly as an arrogant prick who essentially tore two best friends apart. Now again, this may not actually be what happened in the real life story of Facebook, but it’s essentially how Saverin viewed it so we have to go with what we’re shown on screen. I think Timberlake has a decent career in acting ahead of him. I really enjoyed him in Alpha Dog and his performance here was definitely worth noting, but again I feel like Eisenberg’s performance was so much better that it made these other guys seem just a little bit worse.
As for the supporting case, the Winklevoss twins were great. The writing for these characters was top notch and I actually looked forward to every time they were on screen. There was just enough humor in their scenes and even scenes where they were mearly mentioned, that it gave the film a nice sense of comedic relief at points. Brenda Song played Saverin’s psycho girlfriend and if Saverin’s girlfriend was really that crazy she nailed it. Plus she’s hot so it gave us something to look at. Rasheeda Jones wasn’t in the film all that much, but she did a good job when called upon. Overall everyone in the cast was on their game in this film and I would not be surprised if Eisenberg was nominated for an Oscar. Actually let me rephrase that, I will be very surprised if Eisenberg is NOT nominated for an Oscar. His delivery and timing were spot on throughout the entire movie. He had you hating him one moment and feeling sorry for him the next, just an overall amazing performance. I could have watched him play this character for another 2 hours and you gotta credit Sorkin for the incredible writing as well.
As if there was anything else I could gush over regarding this movie I do want to talk about the movie’s score really quick. When I first heard that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame was creating the soundtrack I was both thrilled and skeptical. I’ve loved Nine Inch Nails since the 90’s when I couldn’t even buy The Downward Spiral because it had a parental advisory sticker. The man is a genius plain and simple, but I wasn’t sure if he was the right fit for this movie… boy was I wrong. The entire time I was sitting in the theater I couldn’t wait until the next time the music would kick in just so I could hear what Trent came up with and I was never disappointed. I may just buy the soundtrack right now and I can’t tell you the last time I actually paid for music… it was that good.
To wrap things up, obviously you can tell that I thought the movie was great. And despite the fact that it may or may not all be true it’s still just that, a great movie. So I highly recommend that you check out this flick either while it’s in the theater or when it hits DVD/Blu-Ray, but don’t write it off as a dumb movie about Facebook as a lot of people did when they first heard about it because it’s a lot more than just people sitting on Facebook and requesting friends. And if Mark Zuckerberg is worried that this movie is going to paint him in a bad light, I wouldn’t be worried. Sure there are times in the movie when he looks like the biggest asshole in the world, but the movie is actually quite inspirational and in the end you almost feel bad for the guy. It can’t be that easy to be the worlds youngest billionaire.