The need to belong drives the men behind a revolution in the slick biopic The Social Network.
Facebook has forever changed the way humans interact. So who would have thought it was spite which started it all?
As least that is how it’s portrayed in The Social Network, which opens on a young couple breaking up while grabbing a drink in a busy bar.
Usually such an event would barely register. But when one of the participants is Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, interest peaks considerably.
Played by Jesse Eisenberg in a fantastic performance, Zuckerberg is portrayed as a socially inept creature, a fact that quickly becomes apparent through the Aaron Sorkin penned back and forth between Eisenberg and Rooney Mara.
Socially inept, Zuckerberg mostly keeps the conversation to one topic: himself. Soon his talent for talking fast and talking shit forces his girlfriend to walk out on him, yet we are transfixed.
Who is this guy? Apparently no one knows, with behind the scenes squabbles questioning the validity of these portrayals. But The Social Network should not be seen as an accurate description of who this man is, but what he represents.
Community has always been the dominant factor in how we as humans interact, yet with the emergence of the internet, the rules have been altered. At once you are part of a group, yet anonymous. Contact is achieved, yet physical touch is impossible.
It all comes down to the need to belong, and while Zuckerberg may have a million friends on his Facebook page, he just might be the loneliest man in the world.
The Social Network is not the story of Zuckerberg, or of Facebook, but how the concept of community has twisted into a synthetic version of itself.
With exclusivity a prominent factor, it only makes sense that this story should begin at Harvard University, here portrayed as a boys club patched together by exclusive, male dominated social cliques.
Zuckerberg immediately sees the appeal, and when a misogynistic stun earns him notoriety, opportunity comes calling in the Winklevoss twins, silver spoon athletic giants both played by Armie Hammer, with help from a stand in and some impressive VFX.
Their idea to take the Harvard experience and place it online stirs Zuckerberg’s creative mind, and “The Facebook” is born.
Fate would again intervene in the appearance of Napster wunderkind Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who will go on to find a soul mate in Zuckerberg, and guide him through the right channels to make Facebook what it is today, (he even recommended the “The” be dropped from the title).
But just as sure as Facebook becomes a success, so to must Zuckerberg face the consequences of his actions.
First he is sued by the Winklevoss twins for intellectual copyright. A simultaneous lawsuit is launched by Zuckerberg’s best friend and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who was screwed over of untold billions as Zuckerberg’s ego takes hold, Andrew Garfiled a revelation as the jilted friend, hitting all of the right emotive notes.
Assembling it all is director David Fincher, who not only captures the tense emotional warfare and social relevance these young men and their creation would manifest, but has also structured a technical marvel, weaving together the top quality work of cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, and the pop infused score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
The double punch of Fincher’s direction and Sorkin’s words gives a special kind of relevance to The Social Network.
This isn’t just some Facebook movie, as some would like to label it. This is a story about the ever changing social landscape, structured through the work of new era entrepreneurs, men barely out of their 20s turned billionaire rock stars, misogynistic, paranoid, and very angry.
The nerds have won. Let’s see how they will handle the power.