There’s something exhilarating about Mark Zuckenburg, or at least how Jesse Eisenberg, and how he goes about his everyday life.  The first twenty-odd minutes of the film is everything you would expect in a damn near perfect movie: fast paced, snappy dialogue, and a edge of your seat thrill ride, which is all the more amazing since that last part actually takes place mainly in the dormitories of Harvard University.  Mark discusses life with Erica, his soon to be ex-girlfriend, and the subsequent breakup results in Mark creating a online program called FaceMash, which allows the users to pick the “hotter” of two faces that are flashed on the screen.  He creates this program in only a few hours – drunk – blogs about everything that night while writing this program – mostly about Erica and his thoughts on her family – and crashes the Harvard network because of the amount of traffic generated by this website.  He comes off as a gifted genius and an asshole, though both may or may not be attributed to a suggestion of Asperger’s Syndrome, given his specialty in computer coding and his inability to effectively engage in basic human interaction.

After the fallout of FaceMash, he’s introduced to the Winklevoss twins, who wants to launch a social network within Harvard but needs a computer programmer to assist.  Zuckenberg agrees, then meets with Eduardo (who provided the algorithm needed for for FaceMash) to create their own social networking website called The Facebook.  It launches and expands, while the Winklevoss’ fume quietly (they eventually sue when Facebook reaches Britain, which happens to arrive at the same time they’re there for a rowing competition).

Eduardo wants advertising to help pay for the website, but Mark wants to keep it “cool”, and finds an unexpected ally in Sean Parker (the creator of Napster, played by Justin Timberlake, excellent), who introduces Mark to the high life on the West Coast: parties, women, drugs and lots of money.  Mark seems unaffected by it: we’re repeatedly told that he has no interest in money, and that he would rather spend time just writing code for the website.  That may be part of the reason why he doesn’t seem to understand that it was Parker who got himself a greater share of Facebook while reducing Eduardo to almost nothing (Eduardo is the other party the sues).

Much of the narrative is driven by the two court proceedings, which helps clarify the movie and brings order to the madness of the launch of Facebook.  Nothing is boring though, especially the meetings between opposing parties: the dialogue just flows, with one witticism after another.  Not everyone necessarily talks that fast or that snappy – it may just be a result of the current generation and the speed at which it moves through life – but it works, and it’s a joy to see such interplays happen that marvelously.

A great movie, one that actually lives up to the hype and should be viewed by everyone, or at least everyone of the 18-34 generation.

Or, well, just everyone.

A-

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