Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Geek is good

“The Social Network”
Three and 1/2 stars

By Thomas Tracy

With its over-caffeinated pacing and whip-smart script, a Harvard computer geek becomes the equivalent of a rock god in “The Social Network” — and, just like with Jim Morrison, OJ Simpson, and Mel Gibson, the viewing public is left glued to the screen waiting for the impending fall from grace.

It takes a truly gifted screenwriter and director to turn a relatively boring tale like the creation of Facebook — even with all its sexy allegations of intellectual property theft — into something the average viewer would care about, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher succeed brilliantly by bringing us into the kinetic catastrophe known as the mind of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg, “Zombieland”).

After about five minutes in his shoes, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched that he created Facebook (first known as The Facebook) just to stick it to the girl who broke up with him.

The rest, as they say, is history. Once The Facebook becomes a Harvard sensation, classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Arnie Hammer and Josh Pence) claim Zuckerberg stole the idea from them.

Zuckerberg ignores the allegations, as well as pleas from his chief investor Eduardo Saverin (played by the new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield) to have the site begin to generate money for the Harvard underclassman.

He’ll only listen to fellow genius and kindred spirit Sean Parker, the founder of Napster (playled by Justin Timberlake, the only guy who can make an arrogant geek look cool).

Before long, The Facebook becomes Facebook, and millions are logging on.

In turn, Zuckerberg is making billions — and everybody’s suing him. 

In a masterful stroke, Fincher lets a usually dry legal deposition drive the story, letting us delve further into the psyche of Zuckerberg — the social misfit we all expected him to be.

Yet in Eisenberg’s brilliant depiction, the cantankerous computer genius somehow rises above it all by understanding exactly what everyone is desperate for — a connection.

His insightfulness is so innocent and, dare we say, pure, that we almost want to look Zuckerberg up on Facebook and friend him ourselves.

“The Social Network.” Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. Directed by David Fincher. Running time 120 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug and alcohol use and language. Playing in Brooklyn at Access Digital Theatres - Pavilion Cinema in Park Slope, BAM Rose Cinemas in Fort Greene, Cobble Hill CinemasUA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown, UA Sheepshead Bay 14Bay Ridge Alpine CinemasLinden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York. 


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