|"No, I will not accept your friend request."|
David Fincher is a technician. In the computer world, he would be a programmer. That might be why he was attracted to such a character in the first place. Much like Fincher, Jesse Eisenberg is a technician (or a programmer) of an actor. Meticulous in detail, and remarkably articulate and precise, both David Fincher and Jesse Eisenberg are a match made in BIOS.
More after the cut --
The Social Network represents a rare moment in film - a moment when literally everything falls into place. Mise en scene doesn't even begin to describe the magic that occurs here. I mentioned above the cut that Fincher and Eisenberg are technicians, but that, again, doesn't cover it. Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer squared, even the brief likes of Rooney Mara and Brenda Song are exercised to a tee, and each role is executed with the same amount of technique and precision as the other. See also the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and the screenplay by the incomparable Aaron Sorkin.
We know the story, because we use the website. Mark Zuckerberg creates Facebook.com in his dorm room over the course of a couple of weeks, and is sued by his investor and two competitors (whom he agreed to work for prior to the creation of the site). Today, Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world and has over 500,000,000 friends. kinda.
It's Eisenberg's performance that drives the film. Without Eisenberg making Zuckerberg the lovable anti-hero rather than just a dick, the movie wouldn't have been as well recieved. Each performance makes equal impact, in my eyes, but Eisenberg is the one who should be mentioned first, if not for his leading role. I can't use the words technique and precision again, so I'm going to go with subtlety and confidence. Those words also describe his performance. So do they for the performances of Garfield, Timberlake, Mara, Song, Hammer, so on and so forth down to the extras. There isn't one false step. Though, I give the extra thumbs up to the gentlemen, simply because they had more to work with.
But, the two that make it most worth while, for me, are Andrew Garfield as the wounded best friend/co-founder/investor for Facebook. And Justin Timberlake, as the creator of Napster and major trouble for Facebook, boiling in paranoia and self-loathing and ego. Two gifted performers giving extraordinary performances that seem to be what Oscars should be made of. Except that neither of them caught a nomination. Thankfully, the film as a whole has been hailed and recognized by just about everyone. In any other hands, this could have been "just a Facebook movie".
This has been called the film that defines my generation. That, I have some issue with, as my generation is far from over and is still kicking in its crib. But, so far? Sure, why not? It sheds light on the communication tool of my time, as well as flexes the muscles of actors we know, actors we don't, and actors we never thought could.
It's a chilled legal thriller, a Shakespearean tragedy, and a comedy in the style of His Girl Friday - all in one film.
Scott Martin and countless other critics like this.