The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Social Network

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an English/Math tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.

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The Social Network

How ironic that a nerdy, socially inept loner became the architect of the largest cyber connection between people, globally linking 500 million of them together within seven years.  Then again…

…this loner happens to be a 19 year old Harvard sophomore studying computer programming.  He is a condescending, arrogant know-it-all who scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT.  Despite this, or more likely because of it, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has just been dumped by his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara).  

He blogs about her disparagingly and creates a rating application (app) that collects votes for the most attractive women at Harvard, hacking into the institution’s databases in the process.  The wildly popular app shuts down Harvard’s servers and begins an administrative inquiry.  Guys love the app; girls hate it.  Zuckerberg becomes a notorious figure on campus.  The year is 2003.

The entire process gets him thinking about creating a social app that could connect people, one with a possible, ultimate goal of “getting laid” as one of his roommates crudely puts it.

At the same time, Harvard twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer in a dual role) try to recruit Zuckerberg to create a Harvard-only social network, an idea that sparks the programmer’s own ambition to begin work on the relationship-based app that will ultimately become Facebook.  Zuckerberg’s one friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) agrees to finance the undertaking.  

Complications and litigations arise when Saverin and the Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg for breach of contract and theft of intellectual property respectively.  
Napster creator Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), already notorious, courts Zuckerberg for a piece of the pie, urging the cocky CEO into brazen financial deals that eventually edge out Saverin.  The Winklevoss twins try to nail Zuckerberg for stealing their idea.  

The balance of the film follows the path of the litigation through flashbacks that corroborate the testimony of both the accusers and the accused.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg has a confidence that makes all of his character’s insolence fascinatingly justifiable.  He does not flinch nor does he retreat.  Never does he second guess himself.  The character’s insouciant demeanor and disregard for consequences is embodied by Eisenberg’s constant, steady glare and rapid-fire speech.

Justin Timberlake’s Parker is almost mad with power and entitlement – eyes glittering like a snake about to devour prey.  Timberlake conveys the drive of the flawed Napster whiz kid that is quietly understated yet urgently propelled by dollar signs.

Andrew Garfield’s Saverin is the conscience of the film, the only character blessed (or cursed) with caution.  Garfield pulls off both the slickness and vulnerability of an organism that swims with sharks but is not really one of them.

Armie Hammer is stunning as the twin Winklevoss boys Cameron and Tyler, in a performance full of easy, pompous privilege that speak to his skill as an actor whose star is on the rise.  Josh Pence is given credit as Tyler Winklevoss; Pence sat in physically as someone for Hammer to address, changing places when necessary so that reaction shots matched.  The final product is seamless.

The script, by Aaron Sorkin, is intelligent and as razor sharp as a laser beam.  Director David Fincher (Fight Club) has a lot of exposition on his hands, but keeps the action progressing in a crisp almost conspiratorial manner, letting the viewer in on personal secrets while wrenching them back into litigation filled with acrimony and betrayal.

The Social Network is a riveting film about Internet power harnessed by youthful entrepreneurs and sold back to the establishment for big bucks.  Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest billionaire in part because he was spurned by a girl and had the cyber skills to start a mega-trend of connection, even though that very skill, when practiced “one on one,” evaded him.

It’s one of the year’s best films; slick, intelligent and illuminating.  In Facebook speak, I’d even venture a prediction:

You and 500 million others (will) like this.

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