I did not know what to expect from a film directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) about the formation of the social network website, Facebook. Fincher is a respected director known for his dark films and I did not think this was a dark film. Boy was I wrong!
I wasn't too aware of the story behind the birth of the website and the lawsuits that followed. The more I watched the film the more sense it made to have Fincher as the director as this was a terrifically dark piece. This is no departure for him
In the year 2003 at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg – Zombieland, The Squid and the Whale) was a computer programming genius. He had already had a blog, which he used to slag his ex-girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara – Youth in Revolt, A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010) in a drunken rant, and in that same evening had put up FaceMash.com, a survey of Harvard female students asking for votes about who was the hottest. The site got him in a little trouble (six months probation) as it crashed the Harvard network.
Gaining a reputation due to FaceMash.com, Zuckerberg is approached by two students, identical twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both roles played by Armie Hammer – Flicka) who want to hire him to create a website called Harvard Connection. Zuckerberg agrees and is to start working on it right away.
The meeting with the two brothers sparks something in Zuckerberg and he comes up with idea of creating a social networking site called The Facebook. He goes to his best (and pretty much only) friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield – Never Let Me Go, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) with the idea for a site where Harvard students could exchange personal and social information with others. Eduardo likes the idea and agrees to provide the money (thousands of dollars) to start it up.
Once the site is up it because very popular amongst the students at Harvard. When the Winklevosses and their partner Divya Narendra (Max Minghella – Syriana, How To Lose Friends & Alienate People) find out about The Facebook they are furious. They believe that Zuckerberg, who has been avoiding them yet pretending to still be working on their site, has stolen their idea.
When Zuckerberg runs into his ex Erica he is upset when she doesn't know about The Facebook as she is not a Harvard student. That night he decides to expand it to include other universities.
Now The Facebook has expanded to many universities in the Northeastern portion of the United States. Through Eduardo's girlfriend, Christy Lee (Brenda Song – Like Mike), Eduardo and Zuckerberg meet Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake – Black Snake Moan, Shrek the Third). Despite the protests of Eduardo, Zuckerberg begins to rely on the advice of Parker. Zuckerberg even follows Parker's advice to change the name to simply Facebook.
Another change done due to advice from Parker is that Zuckerberg moves the headquarters for Facebook to Palo Alto, California. Eduardo once again is not happy and stays in New York for the summer in order to try and get some advertising support for the site. Push comes to shove and Eduardo freezes the company's bank accounts to get Zuckerberg's attention. Initially angry, Zuckerberg quickly forgets this when, through Parker's contacts, the company gets a $500,000 investor.
All this gets the Winklevosses angry and they decide to sue Zuckerberg. Around the same time Eduardo discovers that the deal he signed with the Facebook lawyers has diluted his share of the company from thirty percent to less than 1/10 of one percent. He also decides to sue Zuckerberg.
There were many unexpected aspects to the film. I didn't expect to like it, but I did though not for the reasons that most people liked it. I also had heard much about the performance of Jesse Eisenberg and how good he was. Yes, he was good at playing the obnoxious, sans social skills, but brilliant character, but doesn't show any range. He was pretty much the same throughout. No anger, no outward sadness, nothing but arrogance and brilliance. Not enough to make an Oscar Award winning performance.
The previously mentioned darkness, the emotionality, brutality, and the moments of humour are excellent. I thought I would just be watching a film that went through the creation and development of the site, which sounds pretty uninteresting to me. However, what really struck me and I connected with were the human elements. Once you watch the film you realize that it is not really about a website, but rather about friendship, betrayal and ambition. A real character study with universal themes.
The writing in the film is marvellous. Script writer Aaron Sorkin (from television's The West Wing) has created a lead character that is unlikeable and yet you still feel sympathetic towards him. There is also a unique and attractive rhythm to the intelligent dialogue.
Some technical or support features of the film that struck me were the way it looks and the score. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) has created music that adds so much to the scenes it is ridiculous. Atmosphere is totally created with the score. Speaking of atmosphere, the way every scene looks is incredible and totally creates an environment that adds plenty to the picture.
-How Did They Ever Make a Movie of Facebook?
-David Fincher and Jeff Cronenweth on the Visuals
-Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter and Ren Klyce on Post
-Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and David Fincher on the Score
-Ruby Skye VIP Room: Multi-Angle Scene Breakdown
-In the Hall of the Mountain King: Reznor's First Draft