Fincher’s last film, the Brad Pitt vehicle The Curious Case of Benjamin Button received an admittedly mixed reception; a rare misstep for an otherwise extremely talented director. His latest effort The Social Network is without doubt a return to form.
Scripted by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), The Social Network details the events surrounding the creation of Facebook, and the subsequent legal wranglings regarding its creation. Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg, who after a break-up drunkenly creates Facemash, a website rating the attractiveness of the female students of Harvard.
This stunt, as well as his ability to create the site in a matter of hours, understandably attracts the attention of the Harvard cohort, particularly the attention of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who along with their business partner Divya Narendra are hoping to launch a social networking site. Zuckerbergagrees to aid the Winklevoss’s in their endeavour, whilst simultaneously developing Facebook. OnceFacebook is launched, the Winklevoss’s and Narendra wish to sue; thus forming one of the lawsuits that form the basis of the film’s narrative.
Simultaneously Zuckerberg is involved in a lawsuit with his previous best friend Eduardo Saverin, who after investing several thousand dollars of his own money into co-creating Facebook, finds his influence waning after the involvement of outside interests become entangled with Facebook’s future business plans.
Sorkin’s script is entirely flawless; through Sorkin’s work the film feels intelligent, knowing, almost replete with arrogance, notably reflective of Zuckerberg’s characterisation. Zuckerberg is an unlikeable character, seemingly possessing social difficulties in communicating with others, despite his all too apparent level of intelligence. Eisenberg ensures that despite his almost chronic arrogance, the audience is able to find empathy with him: his character is too interesting to simply disregard.
Some may question the basis of the narrative, questioning whether recent events may prove difficult to sustain an audience’s interest; especially when they are already so familiar with the subject matter. Yet such is the skill of Fincher’s craft, that the recent nature of the events does little to affect the tension, nor the narrative drive of the film. Fincher intersperses scenes of the two lawsuits with scenes of Facebook’screation. This non-linear narrative makes for exciting viewing; unveiling events in such a manner that Fincher ensures tension is present throughout the film.