Saturday, January 29, 2011

Story of Facebook is Excellent, Worthy of It's Praise

It's amazing how quickly something comes about, and how quickly we all take it for granted. Facebook seems as common now as McDonalds, or Google. Only twenty short years ago, the Internet was a foreign concept. These days, Google and Facebook are common verbs in our vernacular. Phrases such as "Google it", or "Facebohok me" are commonplace. What began as a drunken tirade in a Harvard dorm room in 2003 has become a billion dollar internet monopoly, and giving it's founder, Mark Zuckerberg the title of youngest billionaire in the world. David Fincher, best known for directing films such as "Fight Club" and "Zodiac" expertly directs this young cast.

Zuckerberg, as he's portrayed (excellently by Jesse Eisenberg) in the film, was a genius, a fact of which he was well aware. He seemed to be bored in his classes. At the onset of the film, he and his girlfriend Erica are sitting in a campus coffeeshop. Erica tells Mark that she no longer wants to be in a relationship with him. Zuckerberg, heart broken, returns to his dorm room and begins to exact his revenge. He furiously begins to write programming and posts unflattering pictures and comments of his ex-girlfriend. With the help of his roommate, Eduardo, played by Andrew Garfield, this initial programming eventually becomes an international phenomenon. But, with his success, he ironically becomes somewhat of a social piriah. His fellow Harvard students and rivals, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, both played by Armie Hammer, appeal to the president on the university that this "code" was actually their idea, and that they'd been ripped off by Zuckerberg. This eventually leads to litigation, not only by the Winklevoss brothers, but by Eduardo as well. The story moves back and forth between the trial that took place recently, and the use of flashback. While Zuckerberg made enemies in the process, he also gained allies, namely investor and troubled co-founder of Napster, Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake, who seems to have come into his own as an actor, and not just a former boybander.

If I were to change anything about the film, it would have been the constant moving between past and present. While it was certainly effective in telling the story, I felt that a telling of the story, and leading up to the litigation and ensuing trial would have been just as equally effective. However, in the way it was presented, it was almost as if you were watching two seperate stories on a split screen. In this way, the viewer doesn't feel as though they'd have to go back in the film to understand what it is they are watching now. Each point that is made in the courtroom is explained in the telling of the story through flashback.

I didn't find the acting of the young cast pretentious in anyway. Often, I've noticed, in a film consisting of young up and comers, a good story can be overshadowed by inexperience of either the actor or the director, who try to do too much. This can often ruin a film for me. This was my fear with this film, but any apprehension I had was relieved and I was able to enjoy this film.

This story of an internet phenomenon that many of us now take for granted was well written, acted and portrayed. It is predicted to do well this awards season, and rightly so.

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