Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Social Network"

Reviewed by good friend and fine writer, Susan Steele ... 

Mark Zuckerberg...Does he have Asperger’s Syndrome? Is he merely misunderstood? An asshole? Or… just trying to be one? 

Zuckerberg is the arrogant computer genius defending himself in a lawsuit against his only friend along with three other Harvard acquaintances who also claim to be the founders of The Social Network - otherwise known to us as Facebook. 

The movie portrays Zuckerberg as someone who has difficulty relating to girls, roommates, friends and anyone else who does not speak his language - computer programming. He is also distracted by the fact that he has not yet been invited to join one of two prestigious Harvard Final Clubs. (So named because they are two of the last social clubs one can join at Harvard before graduation).

We watch as Mark Zuckerberg flaunts his hacking skills in front of Harvard officials, apologizing to no one for his ability to build a network faster and more sustainable than anyone has ever been able to do. He never seems to second guess himself, has no qualms about asking his friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin for more money, and then casts aside his friend when he no longer seems useful (or is he jealous because Saverin is invited to be in a Final Club and Zuckerberg is not?).

He also has to defend himself against three elite Harvard students, the snobby twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their friend, Divya Narendra, who "hired" Zuckerberg to create a social network for Harvard - thus launching Zuckerberg on to a larger project - connecting the elite schools in the country via a social network, then connecting colleges overseas like Oxford and Cambridge, and then, later, creating the network that everyone uses today…from your teenager to your grandmother. Helping him on this journey is his bedazzling, slightly slimy, new friend - founder of Napster, Shawn Parker.

The Social Network is well-written (Aaron Sorkin), seamlessly directed (David Fincher) and comprises a fine cast including Jessie Eisenberg. Eisenberg, as Zuckerberg, is compelling in this ironic tale of a friendless young man who becomes the founder of the world’s largest social network (not to mention the world’s youngest billionaire)…which, in Zuckerberg’s case, makes the phrase “Add As Friend” a little pathetic.