The Social Network

Timberlake and Eisenberg in The Social Network

Very recent history makes its way onto the big screen with The Social Network, documenting the birth of Facebook. Too soon? Not at all. Good? Too good to be true, in fact.

When I first heard about this film, I thought: too soon. Then the cynical side of me thought it would be a desperate attempt to make money from the more than half a billion users that have already signed up to Facebook.

My interest started growing when I heard that David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven) was directing the film from a script written by Aaron Sorkin, who created The West Wing (which is almost religiously admired in our household).

Then I was completely sold when I watched the trailer, which not only featured the most heart-wrenching rendition of Radiohead's Creep, but also made me realise that Facebook is, at its core, an utterly beautiful thing. Beside a lot of nonsense, people share some of the moments in their lives that define them: relationships, birth of children, personal tragedies.

The fact that the film is one of the best-reviewed films of the year made it easier to brush away the above cynicism and take a look. And how worth that look is. The plot centres around Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg, being sued for sums large enough to make even the wealthiest banker blush, firstly for intellectual property theft by a pair of Harvard-crew twins who claim (rightly or not) to be the true inventors of Facebook, and secondly by his former best friend who got sidelined in the company he helped found.

As one could expect, Sorkin's script is intelligent, and Fincher certainly knows how to direct a movie. Whilst it is not clear how many of the events actually happened, the setup makes for an equally moving and entertaining two hours. The dialogue is so sharp, you wish that the characters would never stop talking, and fortunately, Zuckerberg himself rarely seems to.

Jesse Eisenberg is brilliant as this nerdy, slightly anti-social geek, who ends up losing his long-standing friend and Facebook co-founder because he believes that he has something big at his hands (on which history has proved him correct so far).

Justin Timberlake excels as the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who teaches Zuckerberg how big dreams - and big parties - can be funded and ultimately realised. Maybe not that much of a stretch for him after all.

When Zuckerberg decides that Facebook is finally ready to go online, you can't help but hold your breath for a second, since you know that only six years later, every 12th person on the planet will have signed up.

And after the drama has runs its course, you can't help wanting to press the 'Like' button.

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