From filmmaker David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin comes this (purportedly) true life tale about the creation of Facebook, with the movie detailing Mark Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) ongoing trials and tribulations surrounding the site’s inception and eventual expansion. There’s little doubt that The Social Network does take a while to get going, with Fincher’s decision to open the proceedings with a lengthy sequence in which Zuckerberg is dumped by his girlfriend (Rooney Mara’s Erica Albright) undoubtedly setting a less-than-enthralling tone – as Eisenberg initially seems to be offering up a variation on his usual neurotic, fast-talking shtick. It does, however, become increasingly clear that Eisenberg is up to something far more complex than one might have initially suspected, and it’s ultimately impossible not to marvel at the lengths the actor goes to in portraying Zuckerberg’s fiercely antisocial and almost sociopathic personality. Likewise, the supporting cast has been filled by an impressive roster of performers that ultimately elevate the proceedings on an all-too-frequent basis – with Armie Hammer’s scene-stealing work as the Winklevoss twins undoubtedly standing as a highlight. Fincher’s notoriously exacting visual sensibilities are put to especially impressive (and consistently enthralling) use here, as the filmmaker does a superb job of meticulously replicating the plush environs occupied by Zuckerberg and the movie’s various periphery characters (and it’s also worth noting that Fincher has peppered the proceedings with several sequences that are nothing short of exhilarating in their audacity, including a breathtaking stretch set at a rowing competition). The film’s progressively engrossing atmosphere ensures that the viewer is left wanting more (much more) by the time the end credits start to roll, which effectively cements The Social Network‘s place as an incredibly solid drama that has plenty to offer both computer buffs and neophytes alike.
**** out of ****