the social network
** SPOILERS **
"A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars."
The Social Network is a masterpiece. Dramatically presenting the creation of Facebook (you may have heard of it. You probably Like it) and the rise to fame and fortune of its inventor Mark Zuckerberg, director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin have crafted a compulsively watchable, riveting, endlessly entertaining morality (or lack thereof) tale completely of-the-moment and of our time. Jesse Eisenberg, with his perpetually furrowed brow and ever-ready sneer, delivers an Academy Award-worthy performance as Mark Zuckerberg, the world's youngest billionaire. Eisenberg captivates, portraying Zuckerberg as a contemptible yet comprehensible genius and visionary. His Zuckerberg is the smartest and most ruthless person in any room, devoid of social graces and seemingly of basic human kindness. The dialogue in The Social Network is propulsive; as rat-tat-tat as Zuckerberg's fingers when programming the code for the website that would become Facebook. The performances by the entire cast, primarily Andrew Garfield as Facebook's co-founder, original investor, and CFO Eduardo Severin, Rooney Mara as Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend Erica Albright, Armie Hammer in a dual role portraying identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Justin Timberlake as Napster co-founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker, are all absolutely stellar. Not a false note is to be found from the cast top to bottom. The opening scene, a wondrous crackerjack battle of wills between Eisenberg and Mara, was rumored to require 99 takes to complete. Each take was completely worth it. That first scene is a stunner and it was just the opening volley of a film that could have gone on for hour after pleasurable hour. The soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch is so mind-blowing, I'm still scouring to collect the pieces. As The Social Network tells its tale (with as much dramatic license as the filmmakers could muster), Zuckerberg's lust for status and influence - and girls - within Harvard lead to him create what would become the unstoppable juggernaut of Facebook while gradually betraying his closest friends, especially Eduardo Severin. Eventually, Zuckerberg would pay off everyone who pursued litigation against him, but the real price he paid is beyond monetary measure. (What a fascinating end note as well that Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook and designer of its code, still chooses to play by the rules he established and must Friend request Albright.) The Social Network is a sordid, electrifying and fascinating story of greed, power, money, betrayal, and belief in a vision greater than any one person, even its creator. I Liked it. More than Liked it. As more than a Friend.