Directed by David Fincher
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Facebook is a modern marvel. It started at Harvard under the development of Mark Zuckerberg and slowly expanded to become what it is today. I am old enough to remember when it was exclusive to college students, now my parents, my aunts and uncles, are also on it. Facebook has become a universal place for people to network. It is such a simple idea, yet it was Mark Zuckerberg who first thought it up and made billions, that’s with a “B”, billions on it. Apart from this marvelous idea making him the youngest billionaire in the world, I did not know much about the man himself. Now, this movie is obviously a work of fiction, but a work of fiction based on actual events. I still am not sure who Mark Zuckerberg the man is, but as the opening scene might indicate, I think he just might be an “asshole”.
The film is directed by acclaimed director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The direction here is coupled so perfectly with the wonderful script by Aaron Sorkin. The story of the development of Facebook may seem boring, but these two breath such life into the characters and dramas they create. Certainly dramatized for Hollywood, the plot is character development. We meet these vivid characters and start to realize what each of them is, what they stand for, and where they are headed. And for these characters we have a fantastic cast. Jesse Eisenberg turns in a great performance as Zuckerberg and is equaled by his castmates Andrew Garfield (Eduardo), Armie Hammer (the Winklevoss’), and even Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker).
The film follows Mark Zuckerberg from the Fall 2003 at Harvard University’s Kirkland House dormitory. It was here that Mark created the smash hit website “Facemash” which, while controversial for crashing the Harvard network and pitting female students against each other for looks, may have been the inspiration and type of programming that inspired a billion dollar company. We meet Eduardo, Mark’s financial backer, and the Winklevoss twins, to young men who propose a similar idea for a dating network called “Harvard Connection”. These are the important characters as we are told the story through flashback as we sit in law office conference rooms, listening to depositions as Zuckerberg is sued by two different parties. Then introduce Sean Parker, creator of Napster, and Fincher introduces a whole new ballgame to the audience. I firmly believe that Fincher and Sorkin were not looking to tell the story of what happened, but who it happened to, and what something like this does to people. It is a character study, just with some great dialogue and oddly compelling scenes to go with it.
As a character development piece, the film is full of exposition as we look into various depositions, but it is also on the actors to bring to life the great dialogue written by Sorkin. And they seemingly nail it every time. Looking back at it, this film is not flashy, unless you count the dialogue, in any technical terms. The photography is nice, but, except for the stellar use of depth of field during the rowing race, it does nothing to capture attention. The score is nice, but it just seems to melt to the background and somehow create a perfect atmosphere, not singling itself out in anyway. The acting is nice, but there is no “big” scene opportunity for any actor to single themselves out and shine. Everything about this movie is just really really good and fits together in a way that most movies only dream of.