Film of the Week: The Social Network (2010)

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David Fincher directs Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake in this hopefully heavily fictionalised look at the creators of Facebook.

Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin bring their impeccable talent to the tale of a dick. Poor Jesse Eisenberg. His take on Mark Zuckerberg is a career making role and he inhabits it so clearly, definitely and is so beautifully detestable that he could be cast as the Dalai Lama yet the impact of his performance here would mean you’d walk out of Kundun 2 thinking the Dalai Lama was a bit of a dick. It is that iconic a performance, nothing he will do will ever override it. Poor Mark Zuckerberg. He could donate (nearly) all his money to charity and based on Sorkin, Fincher and Eisenberg’s expert character assassination work, he will still be the dick to the majority of the Facebook using public as portrayed here. They aren’t the only dicks. The Social Network is awash with dicks. Poor Armie Hammer as both the Winklevoss twins, he/they both lost to a dick… Making him/them even more pitiable – satisfyingly so given their old world money bought arrogance. Andrew Garfield, in the most sympathetic and likeable role, puts his own dickishness perfectly when he explains he was a CFO of the multi million dollar valued company who did not get his contracts checked by his own lawyers. The utter dick. And as for Justin Timberlake’s Napster founding, underage sex loving, Iago with hair gel, Sean Parker… Well… you can only guess. It all makes The Social Network a sharply funny look at a community of social rejects at war with each other over new technology, massive stakes and underdeveloped maturities. Fincher manages to perfectly capture a point in time where the world changed, a period film set less than six years ago. Browns and golds melt seductively into our eyes as the echoing piano of Trent Reznor’s score strokes our hair. The autumn of modernity captured just as the moment passes? Sorkin gets the satire exactly right, the barbed dialogue is like ping pong rallies. The dicks all win riches and lose their relationships. How is that for a moral of our times?

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