The Social Network ★★★★★

No. 148:
Empire Magazines Greatest Challenge: 301 films, 301 words

The Social Network is one of the first great American pictures of the 21st century, a stunningly visceral illustration of the modern era with more energy, excitement and tension than most action movies.

Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay works fast and loose with the truth but sticks to the instincts and humanity of its subjects, allowing action in words to propel its pace. It’s an incredible work that actually challenges the films editing structure and performers to keep up with it. Director, Fincher, and resident DP Jeff Cronenweth’s decision to keep the framing as still and cold as possible keeps the audience within the realm of conversation. While Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score is a minimalist modern wonder with flourishes of explosive conception.

Jesse Eisenberg has been on the cusp of mainstream success for a while now, and his neurotic chatterbox acting sensibilities are perfectly employed to the narcissistic sarcasm of Mark Zuckerberg. The great irony being that the site designed to bring people together was ultimately conjured out of a sense of crippling isolation and malice for the sake of getting people to like him. Andrew Garfield’s big break comes here to and he’s fantastic as the best friend who’s slowly muzzled out of his own investment, as is Justin Timberlake showing astonishing range as Napster’s Sean Parker. Armie Hammer is brilliant in a seamless double role as the Winklevoss twins.

It’s a spectacular portrait of culture in the early 21st century, and not only for the obvious reasons of its subject matter. It’s an epic tale of deception, betrayal and rich people screwing each other over, but at its heart there’s an unpredictably honest depiction of youths trying to prove their intellectual worth to one another - broken human beings using code and technical prowess to hide their true emotions.

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