The Social Network (12A)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

Review byMatthew Turner13/10/2010

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

Brilliantly directed, superbly written and impeccably acted, this is a hugely enjoyable, era-defining drama that's gripping, laugh-out-loud funny and ultimately moving – it's also one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network is based on the non-fiction book by Ben Mezrich about the foundation of Facebook. Structured as a series of flashbacks arising from two separate and conflicting lawsuits, the film begins in 2003, when socially awkward Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) invent the site that will eventually become Facebook.

The problem is that The Facebook (as the site was then called) bears significant similarities to a site Zuckerberg agreed to work on for Harvard rowing all-stars the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer, playing both twins as a result of digital face-superimposing trickery), who eventually file a lawsuit against him. As the site takes off, Zuckerberg hooks up with cocky Napster crash-and-burner Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who helps him realise Facebook's full potential (and persuades him to drop the “The”), but Saverin becomes increasingly alienated in the process and eventually files his own lawsuit against Zuckerberg.

The Good
Eisenberg is terrific, delivering a fearless performance that refuses to soften Zuckerberg's edges and shows exactly why he's such a hard person to like, while also driving home the crushing irony that the man who created the world's greatest social networking site is incapable of forging his own friendships. Garfield is equally good as Saverin, giving a performance that forms the emotional heart of the story, while Timberlake almost steals the film as Parker.

Aaron Sorkin's witty, literate and sure-to-be Oscar-nominated script is a treat from beginning to end – the dialogue crackles with great lines and Sorkin even manages to make legal proceedings fascinating. There's also a superb score from Nine Inch Nails’ frontman Trent Reznor that works brilliantly.

The Great
Fincher's direction is masterful throughout and there are several astonishing sequences. That the film has already drawn comparisons to Citizen Kane is surely as much about Fincher's Welles-like 'box of toys' style approach to directing as it is about the subject matter – the Winklevoss effect is impressive enough, but Fincher has plenty of other tricks up his sleeve too, most notably a Tilt-Shift focus shot of the Henley regatta that is flat-out jaw-dropping.

Worth seeing?
Hugely enjoyable and brilliantly made, The Social Network gets everything right and is quite simply one of the best films of the year. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

The Social Network (12A)
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Content updated: 20/08/2018 09:26

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