Despite the fun of the parties, the intrigue of the legal wranglings and the humour of the dialogue, Fincher and Sorkin never let us forget that we're complicit in their story (or at least 500 million of us are).
It has the staccato wit of a drawing-room comedy, the fatal flaw of a tragic romance and the buzzy immediacy of a front-page headline, all powered by a kinetic engine typically found in an action flick.
Brilliantly directed by David Fincher, this provocative film probes the impetus for invention, the changing face of social interaction and the limits of friendship -- the old-fashioned kind and the version linking 500 million Facebook users.
Smartly written by Aaron Sorkin, directed to within an inch of its life by David Fincher and anchored by a perfectly pitched performance by Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network is a barn-burner of a tale that unfolds at a splendid clip.
The Social Network succeeds, per journalism's most basic directive, in showing not telling. And like great journalism, a great film can capture the reality of the present -- and even make art out of it.
Mr. Fincher and Mr. Sorkin offer up a creation story for the digital age and something of a morality tale, one driven by desire, marked by triumph, tainted by betrayal and inspired by the new gospel: the geek shall inherit the earth.
On a first viewing, it seems almost indecently smart, funny and sexy. The second time around... half the time I sat there marveling at the similarities of the story, themes and structure to Citizen Kane.