I was all gaga about this movie from the time the promos first hit Indian shores. I hadn’t heard much about it before, which was quite strange, as I’d expect it to make some noise. Given that im quite a ‘social networking’ person and spend considerable hours on these sites, I deemed myself the perfect audience for the film. A few of my friends were skeptical though, they figured it was just another movie about a bunch of kids trying to get entrepreneurial and makers cashing in on the brand of the most (mis)used networking site on the internet. A friend asked me if he should watch the movie despite not being a Facebook fan or an addict user. I’ll come to that in a bit.
The plot is fairly simple – that of the creation, dissemination of the decade-defining website – Harvard boy Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) starts a website which becomes the next best thing to Google and he is touted as the youngest billionaire at 26. Even as the world logs in connecting with long lost friends/family/colleagues and happily sharing details of mundane events, Mark is slapped for fraud and intellectual property theft by fellow Harvard colleagues, Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer/Josh Pence) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella), who accuse him of stealing their idea. Caught in Mark’s web of successes, failures and controversies are ex-girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), friend/business partner Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and Napster founder/mentor Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake).
Firstly, let me make this clear – You need to be wholeheartedly, undividedly glued to this film to capture its beauty. Secondly, is this a true story? I don’t know. I’d like to believe it’s not, well yeah maybe some parts of it, but not everything, Im sure the makers have taken liberties, so I’ll just reckon it as ‘supposed-to-be’ Mark’s real life story.
It’s incredible that a story on bunch of unappealing men sitting around cracking codes & arguing can be greatly engaging. Obviously the huge credit for this goes to writer and director who have done a commendable job. The screenplay moves at a solid pace between past & present, and though the transitions are delightfully scripted by Aaron Sorkin, Director David Fincher's notable persistence and attention to detail ensure that not a single scene falls out of place. There are tons of dramatic nuggets in the film to be awed. The screenplay is tremendously brilliant much that you get sucked into Mark’s eccentricities from scenes A-Z. To top it, the movie has some of the finest dialogues i’ve heard recently. It helps that the characters mouth it with dollops of confidence and conviction. The sub plots are carefully etched equations between Mark & Eduardo, between Mark & girlfriend, between Mark and Parker – it just gets better and better.
Jessie Eisenberg as Mark, the founder, is a delight. His character subtlety and contradictions of insecure yet egoistic, devious yet benign is brought to life with perfection. A man so full of vanity that, he wouldn’t think twice, before mortifying friends, emotions, relations, if his ego is rubbed off the wrong way. As I read somewhere ‘If Gordon Gekko had a son, it would be Mark Zuckerberg”. Then there is Justin Timberlake as Parker, man who moves in & out of meetings, charged with intensity and surrounded by an aura that you just need to breathe to get high on life. He's mercurial, charming, delectably mean, snarky grins et al.
Coming back to the question – would someone who is averse to FB enjoy it? I’d have to say YES. It is a movie about the competitive world of businesses, struggles to be in the “best” league, how small ideas blow into big businesses but can leave those involved feeling powerful as well as disoriented at the same moment. The Social Network captures the ‘seven sins’ at its best. The movies drips of these vices at its axis & emphasizes the saying ‘what goes around, comes around’ with élan. The movie has an insurmountable spirit about it. It makes you want to toil, chase your dreams, start that company, pursue that idea you have in your mind, follow that hope inside you and just MAKE IT HAPPEN. I can go on and on and on, but for now just two words - Highly recommended!
Just a random musing - Another fellow blogger @crhemanth wrote a post on his blog – ‘Blogging won’t get you L.A.I.D’. After watching this film, I am tempted to read between the lines and conclude that if these guys got laid often, we wouldn’t have FB or Napster – (in the movie, inventions are portrayed as rebounds of a failed relationship)