The Social Network

I have never seen a David Fincher movie. No Alien³, no Seven, no Fight Club and no Benjamin Button. Especially not having seen Fight Club is apparently worse than abducting children, because the movie seems to have captured the heart and soul of many moviegoers worldwide. It was the quintessential "R"-rated movie of my generation. Michael Van Ostade and Malu Bremer - two friends of a friend of mine - reprimanded me for not having seen Fight Club. How and where? On Facebook. How ironic.

The Social Network deals entirely with this social network. The flick sketches the rise (but not fall) of Mark Zuckerberg's social imperium. It's the story of the software that changed the world : 500 million users and counting. But behind the success, lies a tale of dark, brooding tragedy, in which friends are stabbed in the back and decisions can change lifes.

The cast is amazing. Each one is virtually unknown to me, save for the excellent Joseph Mazzello. It's great when childhood heroes return to the front (The Goonies's Josh Brolin being the most remarkable example) and of course Mazzello - being Tim in 1993's Jurassic Park - was someone we youngsters looked up to.

Jesse Eisenberg is incredible as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Eisenberg portrays him as a nerd without much of a heart - a stark contrast to how the real Zuckerberg (ever smiling and laughing) is pictured in the media. I sure hope Eisenberg imitated some sort of nerdy accent for the role, because his voice is unbearable at times. Andrew Garfield, the new Spider-Man according to dedicated sites, is equally impressive as Zuckerberg's close friend and associate Eduardo "Wardo" Saverin.

Special mention must go to Justin Timberlake, who proves himself to be a fine thespian. There wasn't a single moment in the picture where I was thinking "Hey, this guy's bringing sexyback!". Armie Hammer is amazing in the double role of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. I could say "u can't touch his" performance, but that would be a bad pun. Poor guy has probably been pestered enough with such a last name. Last but not least, special mention must go to Rooney Mara (shouldn't her last name be her first and vice versa?) for her short but impressive turn as Zuckerberg's (former) girlfriend. She has no more than 10 minutes of screen time, but the opening dialogue between her and Jesse Eisenberg is one of the most electrifying I have ever seen. High wire, dynamite talking heads! An Oscar worthy scene to be discussed in film class, methinks.

The best and most poignant scene is also the very last. Zuckerberg - his pants sued off, without any friends, without the girl of his dreams but rich beyond all means - sits alone behind a laptop, types in the name of said girl in the "search"-section of the social network he created, sends her a friend request and then starts clicking "refresh" until the credits start rolling. How sad, because it proves that money still can't buy happiness.

A truly awesome movie and the best of 2010 so far (for I haven't seen Toy Story 3, which is most of my friends's pick for the current year). Bring on the Academy Awards!

Julian De Backer, 8 November 2010