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The brilliant, tangled web of 'The Social Network'

The story of Facebook gets a brilliant telling in 'The Social Network.'
The story of Facebook gets a brilliant telling in 'The Social Network.'

Social networking is perhaps the biggest change in person-to-person relations in the past decade, with people using it to find relationships, jobs and a sense of self.

Facebook is at the top of the heap of sites, and its C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg is the world's youngest billionaires. Facebook and Zuckerberg come under the microscope in The Social Network, a brilliant quasi-history of the site's creation, and a searing examination of the contemporary creative drive, business world and the youth's attempt to connect.

With a piercing script by one of the best movie/television writers in a generation, Aaron Sorkin, and directed with grit and bite by David Fichner, the film tells the story of how Harvard student Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) created Facebook, with the help of his best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and turned it into the far-reaching and enormous behemoth it's become.

The story oscillates back and forth between the site being created, and the simultaneous lawsuits Zuckerberg was facing once the site became huge, which perfectly displays how alone Zuckerberg has become in his pursuit of the next big thing.

The acting from all involved is superb. Garfield brings just the right amount of emotion and business sense to Saverin, playing the role of betrayed friend to the hilt. Justin Timberlake, who plays Napster creator Sean Parker is a fantastic ball of swagger, sarcasm and farce. He nails it.

The real winner is Eisenberg. He has already proven himself a more than capable actor, but in The Social Network, he takes his game up a notch, trading in his nice-guy charm for a simmering anger, arrogance and drive that pushes him to create something new and unique while at the same time screwing the establishment every chance he gets. It's a career making performance.

According to the film, the seed for Facebook is planted when Zuckerberg loses his college girlfriend, and wants to get a little revenge. Yet by the film's quietly devastating ending, despite all the money and influence, Zuckerberg comes back to that one girl.

As The Social Network shows, all the online connections in the world can't make up for one genuine one.


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