The Film: The Social Network

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© Columbia Pictures

We’ve all done it, wasted countless hours staring into the lives of our fellow students and friends, updating our statuses and avoiding doing anything remotely productive. All thanks to the master of procrastination tools, Facebook.

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Directed by
David Fincher

Starring
Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake

Runtime
120 mins

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Director David Fincher’s latest drama depicting this social revolution has been deemed one of this year’s cinematic masterpieces. The Social Network tells the story of the founding of Facebook and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. The film is adapted from Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires, a book written about the creation of Facebook.

When I first heard about The Social Network, I laughed to myself (especially when I found out about Timberlake’s role in the film) and thought that it would be a rather dull and disappointing film, merely advertising Facebook, aiding it further in taking over the world. Oh, how wrong I was.

The Social Network is a fantastic piece of cinematic drama, depicting how an unpopular, socially awkward Harvard student created one of the World’s most successful websites. Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) is portrayed isn’t portrayed in the most attractive light, but as a young student who begins with creating a website for comparing his female classmates. However, Zuckerberg soon builds on this, creating Facebook as a way for Harvard students to connect. Eventually, and rather speedily, the website becomes a phenomenon across the United States and then Britain, it’s success building across the world. The narrative follows the creation of the website, framed within a court case between Zuckerberg and his original partner Eduardo Saverin (Garfield).

The film throws a great deal of facts at the audience, and does require concentration in order to follow the plot. Eisenberg plays the role of Zuckerberg very well, portraying a sense of social awkwardness and disregard for anything other than his beloved creation. He is obsessed by Facebook, constantly changing and updating the website. In contrast, the audience empathise with Garfield, the co-creator who is manipulated and undervalued by Zuckerberg throughout the process. The gradual destruction of the relationship between these two close friends is what makes the film more than a list of impressive facts and figures. The audience are led to believe that this relationship is forced apart by Sean Parker (Timberlake), the badboy founder of Napster who befriends Zuckerberg. Timberlake’s role is perhaps what I found most suprising when watching The Social Network. I’ve never been a fan of the singer, who’s wonderful hits such as ‘Rock Your Body’ and ‘Cry Me a River’ certainly clouded my judgement. However, I thought that he played the role perfectly, adding comedy and more drama to the film.

It’s rather difficult to describe the enjoyment of watching The Social Network when so much of it is based upon endless facts and figures. But despite this, it has been one of the most interesting films that I have seen in a long time, and certainly sparks off debates. Departing the cinema, my friends and I reminisced about joining Facebook and the way that it has changed over the years (often to our annoyance). As an early Facebook starter, at moments when the film chronicles it’s history, I can remember back to these times, which make you think about how much the website has changed in it’s rather short lifespan.

Whether you’re a Facebook lover or not, The Social Network is definitely worth a watch. If you haven’t seen it, it is still playing at the Vue Cinema in Lancaster. Or alternatively, head to The Dukes Theatre on Monday 29th/Tuesday 30th November for another chance to see the film. Students with ‘A Night Less Ordinary’ card receive a discount, and cards are free to sign up for at The Dukes, even on the night. Check out www.dukes-lancaster.org for more information and cinema listings.

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