>The Social Network review


In 1987 Oliver Stone produced a film that encapsulated a whole era and captured the Zeitgeist perfectly, the character of Gordon Gekko crystallising the most prevalent of the seven deadly sins of the time.  In 2010 Stone is set on repeating this trick by attempting to pull off one of the hardest tasks in the film industry; the sequel that matches up to its predecessor.  The timing seems perfect, with the current financial crisis reflecting the true bust of the late eighties boom and the impending release of the original film’s central character in real time.  However, his film has been eclipsed by The Social Network.  As the seventies had All The President’s Men, the eighties had Stone’s aforementioned Wall Street, the nineties had The Insider and now, after a decade without a major time capsule of a film, the new millennium has The Social Network.
With The Social Network slamming Wall Street 2 at the box office it seems that while Stone has been missing the mark with presidential bio-pics and fumbling around South America stroking the egos of Bolivarian political leaders his position, that he earned cutting his teeth (or should that be grinding his teeth) working on Scarface, as the major socio-political-commentator-director has been usurped by a younger model in the form of David Fincher.  Presenting the skills he has crafted and honed since his 1995 breakthrough picture Se7en, Fincher is backed by a killer script from The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin.  It is testament to Sorkin’s ability that he managed to pull it off.  The facebook story is RAM full of absolutely un-writable characters.  After all, if you were to conjure a pair of opponents for Zuckerberg upon the battlefield of intellectual property, would you have chosen identical twin Olympic rowers christened with the inimitable moniker of Winklevoss?  I wouldn’t imagine so.  But, it is in characters such as these that some of the wittiest of dialogue comes; as one of the twins negates the need to hire someone for the job of intimidating facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg: “I’m 6’4, weigh 220 pounds and there’s two of me.”

Fincher has also assembled a great cast.  A handful of the best young actors in America appear in this movie.  Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of the character is so deft and on point that we are treated to a mesmerising display that excels past even the usual high standard of performance Fincher manages to extract from his casts.  He is ever unlikable, ever untrustworthy and ever petty, but does manage a small amount of sympathy in being that guy (we all know one), that brilliant, borderline genius without a clue. If Zuckerberg is truly anything like Eisenberg’s version, then an argument for Asperger syndrome stands on firm footing.  Andrew Garfield continues to impress, slightly twisting and improving his character and performance adeptly from the film Lions For Lambs earlier in the decade playing original facebook CFO Eduardo Saverin, I doubt, however, that the script, or demand on his acting ability, will match up to this role in the upcoming Spiderman movies.  Despite these two lead characters portrayed so excellently, it is Justin Timberlake who shines as Napster founder Sean Parker.  In a pivotal scene Parker sums up the ideology of today’s intelligent and irreverent youth echoing Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko giving the “greed is good” speech in 1987 verbally wrapping up the 80s yuppie mentality.  I can smell the outside bet for Best Supporting Actor at next year’s Oscars now.  And I’m sure this will pick up a whole load of nominations elsewhere, and maybe some statuettes.  Lord knows it deserves every accolade it receives.  *****

The Social Network review … by Matt Henshaw

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