THE SOCIAL NETWORK (David Fincher)
When you go and see biopics, especially those wherein you are not much familiar with the subject, you take the filmmaker's vision as truth, like what I did with Mark Meily's BALER. I found out soon enough that the main characters were fictional. I've learned my lesson since. Make no mistake. BALER, a film from the Philippines (and I am proud of it) is a marvelous achievement, and a colorful take on the historical Siege of Baler which took place during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines.
David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK, from a script written by Aaron Sorkin, feels too close to reality. You take look at the happenings in Fincher's film, then reflect on what might have transpired in the inception of Facebook, and the striking likeliness is unshakable.
The Mark Zuckerberg portrayed in the film is a cold, unapologetic opportunist who developed saw a breakthrough and wasted no time creating it, even if it means sideswiping countless piles of bodies in the process.
Jesse Eisenberg menacingly portrays Zuckerberg. As seen from Fincher's POV, Eisenberg's portrayal of Zuckerberg will not let you get beyond the facade; you will wonder what Zuckerberg's motivations are, why he's acting like a cold-hearted bastard, all the while entranced as to what he will do next. I personally anticipated when Eisenberg will show up onscreen; his character is so complex and compelling your eyes will be glued to observe; his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (my observation) rubs on you.
Andrew Garfield is effective too, as Zuck's best friend Eduardo Saverin. As depicted in the film, Saverin is the big victim of all the fiasco. He simply wasn't able to catch up with the fast pace of business. A sad tale if true, but what really transpired we may never fully know.
As NAPSTER founder Sean Parker, Justin Timberlake is full of slyness and charisma, seducing Zuck to think big, and depicted in the film as one of the forces that led to the deterioration of Zuck and Saverin's friendship.
The fictional character Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) which opens the film and introduces us to Zuck's antisocial behavior makes huge waves in the story despite the brief exposure. "Dating you is like dating a stairmaster," she says to Zuck, and that breakup propels Zuck to diss her on the net, an act which he later on will regret.
Good thing this material was directed by David Fincher. In the hands of a lesser director, THE SOCIAL NETWORK will become a mere morality tale that progresses on a sleep-inducing, linear narrative full of plotholes. Luckily, Fincher is a filmmaker who knows how to thrill-he's mastered it already. His films make a lasting final frame impact, and THE SOCIAL NETWORK is no exception. That final scene paints us a sad Mark Zuckerberg, who although amassed billions, is still longing for human connection.
Even early on in the film, Fincher is able to elicit thrills such as when Harvard senior Divya Narendra founds out Zuckerberg stiffed him and his pals, the Winklevoss brothers, whom Zuck later on referred to as "The Winklevi". The script has wit, too-lots of it. Eisenberg talks fast, pretty much like Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley, sans the rising and falling intonation.
Despite the convincing material and the subtle and Oscar-worth score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (a serious contender to Hans Zimmer's INCEPTION score, mind you), my only objection to THE SOCIAL NETWORK is when Rashida Jones's law intern character Marylin Delpy says to Eisenberg's Zuck in the end: "You're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying really hard to be one..." This for me is the ending argument of Sorkin and Fincher, which contradicts the earlier premises aimed at exposing Zuck's arrogance. If you're gonna diss Zuckerberg, go all in. That line by Rashida Jones should have been scrapped.
So what do we really learn from THE SOCIAL NETWORK? That Zuck really sucks (pardon the pun), that success has a price, and that technology's morality depends on the user? For what's it worth the film is decent entertainment, and may very well earn Eisenberg an Oscar.