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The Social Network (2010)

by on 2010/11/15

“You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”

* * * *

As I write this, Miss_Tree is hissing demands to check her Facebook page. She’s really serious. Her pupils are tiny.

I’m not really sure how long I’m going be able to keep this netbook before she wrestles it from me with her powerful Linda-Hamilton-in-Terminator 2 arms.

So quickly to the review… Directed by the brilliant David Fincher, great bringer of  the immortal Fight Club (1999),  The Social Network is a staccato-shot, rapid-fire study of Mark Zuckerberg. We meet the brash, awkward, painfully-honest geek who created Facebook – a man-child in a rumpled hoodie who can code Web pages faster than he can alienate a female.

As the movie begins, we are dropped without a parachute into a Harvard university bar in the middle of a couple fight. It is sink or swim from there as the snap-crackle dialogue whizzes past the viewer and along the way we meet a cavalcade of smart alecky Harvard students who, posture, gibber and jockey for position.

I have to admit I had absolutely no desire to see this film, feeling very, very meh about the previews,  until my brilliant sister said I simply had to see this film.

She was right.

Blank-faced, so-bland-he’s-fascinating Jesse Eisenberg is incredibly, laugh-out-loud entertaining as the brusque Zuckerberg. Now I have to admit I did have my blood-red Internet poison pen out for Justin Timberlake, playing Napster-founder Sean Parker – the charismatic Iago of the piece. I was poised to say that he-of-NSYNC-fame was miscast, so jarring was his first appearance, however now I must admit Mr. Timberlake did an astounding job as the flawed Parker.

Mind you, as my sister’s husband pointed out , with the Aaron Sorkin script in hand, the family dog could have turned in a bravura performance.

I have a serious thing for painfully-honest, precise, pale men who enjoy the computing arts. While I started the film thinking Mr. Zuckerberg was a bit of a jerk and when the movie ended, I understood why Mr. Zuckerberg was a bit of jerk. An entertaining, interesting, sympathetic jerk. “You are not an asshole, Mark. You are just trying so hard to be one.”

This green-tinted study in nerdly supremacy was as entertaining as my first few infuriating, exhilarating weeks on Facebook. Do yourself a favour, see this film. For more on studies on nerdly supremacy check out Pirates of Silicon Valley.

* * * *

Rated 14A for language and mature situations

121 minutes

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