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Review: The Social Network


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In 2010, six years after it came into existence the social networking phenomenon that is Facebook makes its big screen debut in David Fincher's modern day Citizen Kane.

The Social Network

Few would have envisaged a film about Facebook could be transformed into a big screen blockbuster, but with a cast including Jesse Eisenburg and Justin Timberlake, Fincher brings us a tale of the creation of the billion dollar website drenched in a fascinating personal tale of rebellion, deceit and friendship.

The film centres around Mark Zuckerburg, played by Jesse Eisenburg, who is a computer whizz Harvard student; whose social awkwardness and harsh personality make him an outcast.

It is this that drives him to hack into the university computer systems and create 'Facemash' the precursor to Facebook, which took female students who could be rated against each other in terms of attractiveness. Exciting stuff? Maybe to a computer geek. The film revels in the computer jargon which can at times be off-putting.

However, Eisenburg's depiction of Mark Zuckerburg is so human, unnerving and quite frankly, brilliant, that it pulls you in to his world. Often viewed as the poor man's Michael Cera, Eisenburg comes of age in The Social Network; whether it's his emotionless sentiments to his ex-girlfriend or his vicious tongue to lawyers, there is an aura about him that draws you further into his mind.

In creating the site you spend your life on is where Eduardo Saverin comes in. Played by Andrew Garfield, Saverin is Zuckerburg's room-mate and best friend, his 'only' friend in retrospect.

It is the legal wrangling of these two which drives the drama in The Social Network. Watching the two engage with each other in the fall of 2003, it is hard, bar impossible, to depict the two battling it out over money in a court room a few years down the line, but that's exactly what comes to pass as we see Zuckerburg rise to the summit of a ground-breaking computer entrepreneur leaving his friends and university campus behind them replaced by high offices and the company of Sean Parker, the creator of Napster depicted by Justin Timberlake.

Multiple legal battles, including the story of two Olympic athletes who claimed their idea was stolen, make the tale of Facebook a complex yet fascinating one. You find yourself smiling seeing how, for example, the idea of relationship statuses on Facebook came to be.

The genius of this film lies in the simplicity of it; in a year where we have seen titanic special effects in the form of 'Inception' and 'Toy Story 3', Fincher reminds us that a compelling story coupled with great acting can lead to something spectacular; with Eisenburg's depiction of one of the 21st century's most inspirational men (surely deserving of an Oscar nomination) we see the creation of Facebook make its claim as the best film of 2010.

Now where's the 'like' button…

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