The movie begins at Harvard University in 2003. Being left by his girlfriend, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), a young college student, gets drunk and creates a social network dating platform. Using an algorithm developed by his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), he manages to extract names and photographs from Harvard’s server to create a platform where every student can choose the university’s most attractive girl. The platform causes the system to crash in a few hours with excessive usage, and Mark gets six months of academic suspension.
Later, the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), also Harvard students, contact Mark to explain that they are looking for a programmer for a new project: Harvard Connection. Inspired by the project, Mark comes with the idea of a web page that would allow people to share certain information without invading their privacy. A short time later, Mark launches “thefacebook.com,” which becomes very popular in Harvard University, later through the prestigious American Ivy League universities, and then around all of the world.
The success of creating such a popular platform comes with a lot of personal and legal problems. In the chaos of creating the platform, a passionate conflict arises between the friends about how and when it all began, who deserves the recognition of creating the web page that is evidently one of the most original ideas of the century. A conflict that is so intense that it would end friendship ties and would also lead to legal action.
The story is narrated in a non-linear way, which prevents the viewer from taking sides. Here lies the success of the story-telling; its objectivity. The story progresses by showing us the emotional and mental processes of each character and the different reasons behind their actions.
According to its scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin, the Social Network’s story is about “loyalty, friendship, sex, power, money, envy, social status, and jealousy.” The story is very dense; if you blink just for a moment, you might miss something important.
As we said before, the movie progresses in a non-linear way, making it more dynamic, vital, and engaging. The different timelines of the story are perfectly combined; we see what is happening in the current trial and then the flashback sequences of each character, making us easily understand the motivations behind their actions and reasons behind their feelings. The script’s montage, in this sense, is simply brilliant.
Another element that elevates the movie to a higher level is its lack of complexities. It goes straight to the point and does it with remarkable precision. After a simple but powerful opening sequence, with some magnificent dialogues, the movie moves on to the creation of the most important social network in the world. Although the movie consists of many well-written dialogues, sometimes they get cumbersome, making the movie a bit harder to watch. But this is compensated with funny sequences, the well-designed rhythm and pace, which makes the time truly fly by! Truly brilliant writing from Aron Sorkin; one of the best screenwriters of our time.
Characters and acting
The character of Mark Zuckerberg, brilliantly played by Jesse Eisenberg, is highly controversial; and oscillates between a hero and a villain. Thanks to specific compositional details, he has humanistic values and an odd charisma that prevents him to be despised by the audience. Andrew Garfield, for his part, plays Eduardo with intensity and is powerful as a supporting actor. For his part, Armie Hammer performs well as the Winklevoss twins, subtly differentiating them, even though there isn’t any clear physical difference. Justin Timberlake, another big name in the movie does a terrific job of his role as Sean Parker.
Music and cinematography
David Fincher is the master of details and dialogue scenes, which is very obvious in The Social Network. The protagonist’s social struggles are manifested in different angles and camera positions: For example, Mark is mainly framed in profile, trying to deflect the accusations launched against him, avoiding eye contact with the people around him. Despite being a film that could practically sustain itself on dialogues alone, and it does, it is still technically flawless, thanks to the fantastic direction by Fincher. He directs the scenes so well that you can kind of understand what the scene is about even if you watch the movie muted. The image definitely, succeeds in complementing Sorkin’s intense script.
The soundtrack of the movie by Trent Reznor is also remarkable. The music creates total harmony with the story. Using modular synths and acoustic piano, Treznor captures the movie’s important points remarkably. The choice of music for the last scene, “Baby, You Are A Rich Man” by The Beatles, is also flawlessly accurate, reflecting Mark’s set of mind perfectly.
The Social Network is a movie with a brilliantly written script, with good performances and excellent narrative driving the story. From the first moment, the movie glues you to the couch and never lets you go. As it tells the story of the most famous web platform, a historic milestone of our age, it is an exciting story for everybody. A must-watch for the people of the technological age!