The best and most entertaining movie of the Fall tells the birth story of Facebook, and may win Oscars for director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing, Charlie Wilson’s War). It’s a riveting tale of college sophomores that are brilliant, ambitious, immature, self-absorbed and disloyal – and about to become zillionaires.
Let’s reflect on Sorkin’s challenge here; he is writing a screenplay about nerdy guys writing computer code and making it fast-paced, understandable, funny and even gripping. To compound his challenge, all of the main characters but one are extremely obnoxious, yet he makes us care about what happens to them.
Yet the most compelling aspect of the film is Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. Eisenberg’s Zuckerman has few social skills, less social aptitude and exactly one friend, yet creates a framework for other people to share scores and even hundreds of “friends”. Eisenberg carries the film with an especially intense performance of an emotionally remote character. Eisenberg has been underrated despite strong performances in Adventureland, Zombieland and Solitary Man. Here, it is impossible to think of another actor who could so vividly create this Zuckerman.
This is a uniformly well-acted movie. Justin Timberlake is terrific as Napster infant terrible Sean Parker. Armie Hammer is outstanding as both of the Winklevoss twins, the entitled, preppie wunderkinden. Rooney Mara nails her scenes as Zuckerberg’s soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. Douglas Urbanski (usually a producer) does a viciously hilarious impersonation of former Treasury Secretary and Harvard President Larry Summers.
One more thing: Fincher and Sorkin know how to end a movie.