Monday, 1 November 2010

The Social Network

We caught The Social Network over the weekend. It is a surprisingly gripping account of the story behind Facebook, with great central performances particularly from Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg. It is far from being a nerd's movie - Aaron Sorkin's script ensures that. Instead, as told through a series of fascinating law suit hearings, it becomes a tale of class, the snobbery of elite US universities, social inadequacy, innovative genius and the cruelties of business. There's a highly entertaining scene with Douglas Urbanski as Harvard President Larry Summers giving the pretenders to the Facebook patent, the preposterously entitled Winklevoss brothers, short shrift despite their father's wealth. There is plenty of such humour, though a lot of it is of the 'did he really say that' kind, as Eisenberg ranges from disinterested abuse to cutting sarcasm. Yet the whole two hour experience is as engrossing as anything to hit the screens from the US this year. I can't imagine the execs at Facebook think much of it, not least their founder. But in the end, it is a tribute to his sheer genius (whether or not he cribbed some of the idea from elsewhere) in turning a college friendship site into a worldwide phenomenon.

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