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Log in to The Social Network

Article Published: Oct. 7, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Log in to The Social Network

Jesse Eisenberg stars in The Social Network.

Frank Ruggiero likes The Social Network (Film).

In fact, he may even write about it on his wall, mark it as an event and tag some friends in a note.

Funny how Facebook affects one's behavior. Sometimes it's simple, like writing in third person. Other times it's borderline ridiculous, like devoting hours toward a video game about farming.

The most telling fact of the matter is "Facebook" is now used as a verb, and many of its myriad users forego actual social interaction for the non-confrontational ease of pointing and clicking.

It's the social forum of the early 21st century, and both regular and casual users can both agree on one thing: It's easy to get sucked in.

The Social Network is no different, but you don't need a relationship status, news feed or tagged photos to enjoy this engrossing morality tale from some of Hollywood's finest.

Director David Fincher (Fight Club) and writer Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men) have written a status message to be proud of, and that's "The Social Network is a superb film."

Well-paced, effectively shot and expertly written, this isn't just "the Facebook movie," but an entertaining and tragic study of friendship, betrayal and the perils of success.

Running with the underlying notion that our online connectedness only serves to further isolate us, it manifests this trait in Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, Zombieland).

Fincher depicts him as a modern Charles Foster Kane, whose empire is built of coding scripts rather than newspaper. And his accomplishments, though bolstered by creativity, ambition and even genius, are undermined by a cold detachedness that honestly makes you wonder, "What world is this guy living in?"

The answer is he's living in his own Facebook.

Eisenberg shines as Zuckerberg, who we first meet while being dumped by girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara, Youth in Revolt). Fueled by resentment and alcohol, undergrad Zuckerberg returns to his Harvard dormitory to retaliate. He crafts a mean-spirited website that allows fellow students to compare and rank the attractiveness of their female peers - a literal overnight success that garners 22,000 hits in a matter of hours.

Needless to say, he catches the people's attention, even that of the affluent Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer, TV's Gossip Girl, impressively playing both), members of Harvard's prestigious Porcellian Club, who recruit Zuckerberg to program a social networking site exclusive to Harvard.

Zuckerberg agrees, but on realizing such a site's immeasurable potential, decides to go it on his own. With financial assistance from best friend and business major Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), the two create The Facebook.

In a matter of days, Harvard students are hooked, using "Facebook" as a verb and reveling in the connectivity. As the site grows, Saverin and Zuckerberg begin to see things differently, with the former wanting to capitalize on its success through advertising and the latter refusing on the grounds of keeping The Facebook "cool."

Enter Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, Alpha Dog), the beleaguered but uber-cocky (and ultimately disgraced) founder of Napster, whose take on the Internet's infinite possibilities mirror Zuckerberg's own. With Parker's help, not to mention a surprisingly rock-star lifestyle for a computer programmer, Facebook maintains its cool, dropping the "the" and expanding beyond Harvard, overseas and eventually everywhere.

But naturally, it comes at a cost. The rest is rocky, tumultuous history, lined with flourishing success, greed and inevitable betrayal.

Fincher unfolds the story through a series of flashbacks, as it were, told during two legal depositions, the first between Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins (or Winklevii, as they're jokingly called), and the second between ex-best friends Zuckerberg and Saverin.

Serious stuff, but not without humor. Fincher inserts plenty of wit and laugh-out-loud (pardon me, lol) moments to balance the drama, keeping The Social Network entertaining all throughout.

The casting is impeccable, particularly Eisenberg, whose staccato delivery complements Zuckerberg's icy demeanor, further accentuated by Jeff Cronenweth's (Fight Club) moody cinematography.
And, even better, there's no FarmVille or Mafia Wars.

The Social Network, rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone.

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