Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake

Directed by David Fincher

Written by Aaron Sorkin

It’s not horror, but the dark comedy on display in The Social Network is black enough to earn it a review here.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about David Fincher’s latest is that he successfully answered the question “how do you make a movie about Facebook?” Actually, The Social Network isn’t about Facebook so much as it’s about unbridled ambition, once-in-a-generation ideas and seizing the moment.

Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) has been rightly lauded for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He doesn’t shy away from Zuckerberg’s uglier characteristics (his girlfriend dumping him results in her online humiliation) but manages to bring balance to what could have been a cinematic drubbing (assuming Zuckerberg’s lawyers would have allowed that). Andrew Garfield (the upcoming Spider-man reboot) is especially affecting as Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg’s best friend until his ambition doesn’t measure up. Kudos, too, to Rooney Mara (Fincher’s upcoming Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake) as Erica Albright, Zuckerberg’s ex and his moral compass.

Fincher’s controlled style is ably abetted by the score written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Yes, it sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails but not to the point of distracting from the drama (or comedy). And Sorkin? You can feel the creator of The West Wing having fun here, as he deftly builds character with lines that seem throwaway but aren’t. His genius for comedy is evident.

As to The Social Network’s veracity, well, it’s a work of fiction so don’t cite it in your high school essays. Saverin allegedly contributed to the film, but Zuckerberg definitely did not. That said Zuckerberg isn’t a villain. As his ex Erica tells him at one point, he’s just a guy trying really hard to be an asshole… and succeeding.

Rating: 4/5

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