Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language.
The Social Network was a very intriguing film that had me captivated, but I don't think it's the best movie of the year.
Mark Zuckerberg is a semi-genius when it comes to computers, not so much when it comes to women. When his girlfriend dumps him, Mark decides to get some revenge on her and all women by creating a website called Facemash which compares all the women at Harvard against each other. This little prank catches the eye of fellow students Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra who recruit Mark to create a web site that they came up with. It would be called Harvard Connect and be exclusive for the Harvard community and show peoples pictures, information, etc. Mark agrees but immediately turns around to his best friend Eduardo, asking for money for his own idea. For the next 6 weeks goes into hiding and when he emerges, he has created Facebook. Needless to say, when the Winklevoss's and Narendra find out, they accuse him of stealing. Meanwhile Mark and his new creation take on a life of their own, and soon Mark gets into the crosshairs of famed Napster creator, Sean Parker who leads Mark into a whole new lifestyle. Soon Mark must decide between getting to the top or sticking with his friends.
If The Social Network is even close to what really happened, then Mark Zuckerberg is one of the biggest asses I've ever seen. There is really no redeeming quality about him. From the instant we first see him, having drinks with his soon-to-be-ex, to the final moment of the film, he's just only out for himself, never really caring what anyone else thinks. The story is told from a couple of different viewpoints. Either we see it through Mark's eyes or through the use of two different lawsuits against him, one by his former best friend Eduardo and the other by the Winklevoss twins and Narendra. But they all get to the same point - Mark was more than happy to screw everyone around him to get what he wanted. If he had been bigger and tougher, he'd be a bully. As it was, he was a scrawny little kid who was just smarter than everyone around him.
Again, I don't know how much of this story is really true. It's based on a book by someone who worked with the people that Mark pissed off, so it's very likely it's highly biased, but it's also likely that a lot of the facts are true. A couple of guys come up with an idea that Mark rips off and makes better. I can see that happening easily. He didn't know these people and had no real connection to them. They had an idea that Mark took and ran with as he saw fit. He was a young college kid, why would he think he'd get sued because of it. Either the idea wouldn't work and nothing would happen, or it would work and he wouldn't care. That part I get. But he also had a best friend that he used for his money and that's about it. Eduardo is the one sympathetic person in the film. He's friends with Mark and would do anything for him but Mark didn't seem to care. Mark had a very jealous streak in him which would explain a lot of his actions. Eduardo had money and that's all that mattered. Still, they worked together up till the end when Facebook blew up at which point Mark and the rest of the board basically threw Eduardo out of the company. And that I didn't understand at all because you would have hoped that Mark had a little decency in him, but he didn't.
All that being said, Mark isn't all to blame. I mean, he's to blame for her personality but it's not as if everyone else was guiltless. The twins and Narendra were out to get cheap labor. They didn't care about Mark, they just wanted someone to work for them and they used their position on campus to get it. Then they claimed that for 43 days Mark didn't return phone calls or emails. Why didn't they wait for him outside his door? Or find out where his classes were and stalk him? All they did was call? If all that mattered to them so much, why wouldn't they have tried harder? Then there was Sean Parker - the creator of Napster. As Napster wasn't a real moneymaking venture, I'm not sure why he acted like he had money, but if there was one person who was worse than Mark in the film, it was Sean. Sean saw a young kid, ripe for the picking, and went after him hardcore. He wined and dined Mark, and turned Mark into what Sean wanted to be, not what was best for Mark. The poor kid didn't know what hit him. Sean was more into himself than anything else and wanted to be a part of showing the world that he still had it. Mark was manipulated at every turn and again, he was only in college. Poor Eduardo though still got the short end of the stick and that all falls on Mark.
The movie was pretty good at capturing my attention from the start. As one of the 500 million Facebook users, this is the kind of story I'm interested in. The idea that one guy was able to put all this together and is now worth billions is pretty incredible. You kind of hoped that his story would be a rags-to-riches kind of tale, but a conniving ass works just as well for a movie. All the actors were tremendous in their roles, and the pacing of the film was such that I didn't realize 2 hours were over and felt like the movie could have continued. The way the story was told was a little confusing at first as we jumped between three different time periods, but as the movie went on you could easily keep up. I actually found myself wanting to know even more. There were times where you could tell information was being thrown at you just to move the story along and that there was more history that we could have known about. I'm hoping there's a director's cut on DVD so we can learn even more about all these people. But as much as I enjoyed the movie and the performances, the overall story wasn't something that could qualify this for movie of the year. It's not something I feel like I want to see again, no matter how intriguing it was.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I really enjoyed The Social Network. A good story and great performances definitely will suck you in. But after you leave you might be wondering if you should bother logging on to Facebook. Do you really want to give one of the biggest asses in the world even more money?