The hype that has been circling around this film is ridiculous. On Rotten Tomatoes 145 out of 150 reviews assert this as one of the year's best films, and half of them make comparisons to Citizen Kane. So to say my expectations for this film were high is an understatement, I expected it to be a masterpiece. And even with its small flaws, I can claim that The Social Network is our defining film.
The film is set up alot like Rashomon, and yes Citizen Kane. It moves back between Zuckerberg's freshman year at Harvard in 2003 when he invented facebook, and a few years later when he's fighting legal battles against his former best friend Eduardo Saverin and 3 Upper Class students who claim to have created the "Idea". I found switching gave this film a very quick pace, and in many ways deepened the stories thick layers even further. But like Rashomon we can never truly percieve who's version of the story is the truth. This also parallels our perception of the film: Did this really happen or is it complete fiction?
The performances in The Social Network are spectacular. Jesse Eisenburg is known for his likeable roles, this is not one of them. His Mark Zuckerberg is brilliant. He is unsociable, cruel, condescending, self-centered, hateful, mean,narcicistic; one could write an entire essay on everything that's wrong with this guy's personality (or lack of). This to me was one of the great ironies of the whole film, that one of the biggest social network phenomenons today was invented by a man who has no idea how to socialize with the world around him. It is easy to question whether this portrayal is accurate, but seeing that the real Mark Zuckerberg was trying to heighten his image near the time of this film's release, it wouldn't suprise me. The other impressive performance in this film was newcomer Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin. To me this was the most likeable person in the film, and Garfield portrayed him with an impressive amount of empathy and depth. The performances from Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Rooney Mara engaged me as well.
But let's get real here, the real star of this film is Aaron Sorkin's Oscar worthy script. Log on to any critic's site, except Armond White, and most likely you will find a whole paragraph gushing over this script. It is witty, friery, and fast. From the first scene, my head was spinning from the fast conversations and at times it was hard to keep up with all of the witty sarcasms. All I could think of was that I feel sorry for any viewers who don't speak english, because those subtitles will be fast. It is also very quoteable, my favorite: "Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster."I must also mention that the Direction is fantastic, I have always been a fan of Fincher's films, Fight Club especially, and he has outdone himself here. The perfect example of this is the rowing scene set to an electronic version of "The Hall of the Mountain King", a great piece of filmmaking.
Overall I highly recommend The Social Network, and yes I do think it defines our times and some of the themes here do resemble Citizen Kane. The Overall synopsis of the film is about the creation of a social phenomenon, but there is sooo much more here then that, much that I haven't discovered yet since I just saw it today. In short, I think it is a cautionary tale about money and power. Being a billionaire is probably nice, but since Zuckerberg (The film one anyways) has isolated himself to such a degree, he will forever be pining for existensial things that will always be out of his reach, and he will pine more for them than anything he can ever buy with money. Quite sad really.
A Great film
Pros: Excellent Acting, Direction, and Writing.
Cons: Accuracy is Definitly questionable, but I wouldn't listen to anything Zuckerberg says about this.