The Social Network With the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), the Harvard outcast who sparked an Internet revolution, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin planted his unique brand of succinct…
Movie on DVD Review

The Social Network

BEST FRIENDS ARE WE! Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg invent the modern world in The Social Network
Image credit: Merrick Morton
BEST FRIENDS ARE WE! Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg invent the modern world in The Social Network

With the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), the Harvard outcast who sparked an Internet revolution, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin planted his unique brand of succinct whiplash dialogue into the shell of a John Hughes drama where characters tangle over girls, friendship, being cool, and a billion-dollar idea. In the hands of director David Fincher and a Facebook — in the collegiate pre-Internet sense — of ascending young actors, The Social Network (PG-13, 2 hrs.) is the most up-to-the-minute film of 2010 and the one to beat at the Oscars. The DVD, with commentaries from Fincher and Sorkin and multiple EXTRAS, is a marvelous viewing and listening experience. Fincher fetishists can feast on the production's technical data — how the editors shaped 268 hours of footage into the finished movie, and how the Winklevoss twins were created with Benjamin Button-style CGI.

The Facebook fact-versus-fiction debate looms over everything, as Fincher defends the controversial CEO in his commentary while maintaining that the film was as fair as possible to all parties. Eisenberg explores his complicated relationship with his character in a disjointed cast commentary and a 93-minute making-of, with such remarks as ''I had pretty clear ideas for what Zuckerberg would be during the movie, and I just didn't like him being happy.'' The actor and the character clearly rubbed off on each other: Eisenberg could only manufacture mock sympathy for Josh Pence, the handsome model-turned-actor whose face was erased with CGI: ''Maybe this did have occasional frustrations. At the same time, I don't pity him for a second. He'll be fine. He can go cry over sex.'' It's the kind of artful dagger that would make Sorkin smile. A

See all of this week's reviews

Originally posted Jan 05, 2011 Published in issue #1137 Jan 14, 2011 Order article reprints