Film: The Social Network
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Viktor Hammer, Rooney Mara, Justin Timberlake
Rating: Good
Shauli Chakraborty
The Social Network comes very close to portraying the genius of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. What makes this biopic a little different and intriguing is its effort to portray neither the good nor the bad. The winning formula has to have a combination of both (read grey). Fincher rubs in the theory that winning is all about getting there first and the world remembers only the one who is number one; the seconds and the thirds never make it to the history books.
The film begins with Erica (Rooney Mara) dumping Marc (Jesse Eisenberg) for being obsessed with computer programming and designing a software called ‘facemash’ in a drunken state where he and his roomies can rate girls. For material he hacks into the Harvard server but is hauled up 36 hours later. By then it is too late and the damage is already done. Marc is forced to serve six months academic suspension by the Harvard committee. He walks out only after reminding them that they have no sense of humour and instead of punishing him they should acknowledge the flaws in their system operations. It is during this suspension the Winklevoss twins approach him with the idea of building a social networking website. And the rest, as they say, is history!
One striking feature of the film is the narrative. There are three parallel ones and each brings out one character trait in the protagonists. The script is intelligent and presentation one-of-a-kind. Jesse Eisenberg as the lead is a revelation. When most celebrities around the world are sporting the geek look with signature spectacles, Fincher has chosen to make the boss of all geeks look different. That’s why he wears slippers to class when it is snowing outside, blogs about blasphemic bra sizes after his break-up and never attends a party, even if he is invited and paying for it.
The Hammer twins make a mark, specially Armie who resists legal hassles citing gentlemanliness as an excuse. Justin Timberlake adds much needed fuel to the otherwise deglam script. He is a smooth talker with a keen interest in 15-year-olds and manages to destroy everybody’s reputation including his own. Garfield as Mark’s best friend plays a coy but vindictive Harvard alumni to the tee.
The film has all the makings of a good box office run. It is as much about facebook as it is about faces, albeit with furrows. Like Justin Timberlake exclaims in an LA pub, “This is once in a generation opportunity.”