How many times do you check your Facebook account a day? Do you find yourself addicted to the experience that is Facebook? With anything that becomes popular there is a darker side waiting to creep out. David Fincher’s new movie explores the dark side of Facebook and its creator in “The Social Network.”
The central character and villain is Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg. He is a young, driven, calculated, socially-awkward character who represents one of the co-founders of Facebook. The film starts off with Zuckerberg trying desperately to fit in with the students of Harvard. He wants to be part of the “in” crowd. He seeks entrance into the prestigious final clubs of the Harvard elite. The movie tries to make a case that the reason Facebook was created by Zuckerberg was to impress the cool kids and get even with a woman that breaks up with him.
Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg with a perfect combination of coldness, obsession and social vulnerability. The audience sees that Zuckerberg has an icy personality, and yet we also see his humanity as well. Zuckerberg, during the course of the movie, commits many acts that audiences may deem morally reprehensible. The audience sees the outcomes of those decisions during lawsuits that are interlaced with flashbacks of Facebook’s inception.
Justin Timberlake continues to pull out surprises. He is perfect as Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and part of the Facebook team later in the story. Timberlake plays Parker, the nasty voice you hear inside your head telling you to do bad things. He is sexy, bad and ultimately a messy embarrassment to the image of Facebook.
The only problem with this film is the pacing. It’s difficult to bring a public figure’s life to the big screen in two hours and make it interesting. That is where the problem lies. At moments the film takes so long to get to the point, you feel as if you are crawling along at a snail’s pace.
What the movie ultimately addresses is this obsession to be recognized. “Notice me, see me, hear me,” seems to be the underlining theme that runs rampant in “The Social Network.” It is a sad movie making a dark statement about what we do to get noticed. Because after all, don’t we all want to be extraordinary?
4 out of 5 stars
Story by Shawn Buckenmeyer