The Social Network ★★★★★

If you’d told me ten years ago that a film had been made about the guy who created Facebook, and that this film would turn out to be one of the most entertaining releases of that year, if not the decade, I probably would have laughed in your face (and I probably did). 

But I was daft to have had so little faith, because this film is an absolute riot. There aren’t many features that I would happily rewatch multiple times in one sitting, but this is most definitely one of them. This thing rips through its two hour runtime, thanks in part to its slick editing and engaging non-linear structure, but mostly due to Aaron Sorkin’s note-perfect script. I’ve not always been his biggest fan, on some occasions finding his style to be a little overworked, but he gets the balance spot on here. This might also be one of the very few instances where Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast. I’ve never thought much of him as a performer at all, but he was born to play this role.

There is something immensely satisfying about watching a bunch of the most obnoxious and egotistical people imaginable mouth off at each other from two opposing sides of a legal deposition. It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to root for any of them; a large part of the enjoyment here comes from simply watching them all unravel, all the while lapping up every last drop of their numerous rage-induced verbal exchanges.

Of course, one of the reasons why this is so entertaining is that it takes huge liberties with the facts; but then again, if we were to just watch a bunch of guys drink beer and nerd out on computers for two hours, it would make for pretty dull cinema. There were question marks at the time of its release over what justification there was to drag Zuckerberg’s name through the dirt, which is understandable—it is far from a flattering portrait. Yet the more I’ve learned about the various scandals that have rocked Facebook in the last decade—including its repeated data privacy breaches, and its woefully inept attempts to filter its content and prevent the spread of misinformation—the more I’m convinced that the Zuckerberg portrayed here is, in fact, aligned rather closely with his real-life counterpart.

If one thing alone can be said about this—boy has it aged well.

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