There was a lot of pre-release hype for THE SOCIAL NETWORK -- and for once, the buzz is well-deserved. This is truly an enthralling film; all of the pieces -- writing, plot, direction, acting, soundtrack -- create a memorable, timely movie that couldn't be more relevant to the current zeitgeist. If a story about a business' Ivy League founders or Harvard social intrigue or young billionaires in the making doesn't sound compelling, this movie will surprise you. And the credit must go to director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin, who've taken what sounds like a very boring premise -- boy genius possibly steals an idea to create one of the dominating media forces of the decade -- and turned it into an award-worthy film that even Facebook objectors will enjoy.
Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as a socially awkward computer genius who isn't an adorable geek (like many of Eisenberg's previous roles). He's a huge jerk -- or, as his date tells him in the first scene, a first-class "a--hole" -- obsessed with status and, later, getting back at said date for rejecting him. How many multibillion dollar ideas started out as a way to show up someone who rejected the innovator? And how many business are built on the backs of broken friendships? As Saverin, British import Garfield is pitch perfect. He exudes the confidence that comes with wealthy, but unlike Zuckerberg or the Winklevoss twins, he's not condescending. In many ways, he's the heart of the movie, because his character is so much more likable than Zuckerberg -- so much so that you want him to win his lawsuit against Facebook. The movie's biggest scene-stealers are Timberlake -- who's all slimy and paranoid charm as Parker -- and the Winklevoss brothers, who are played by Hammer so well that you'd swear it was twin actors. Each twin is patrician perfection personified, and the fact that their social networking idea is the seed that Zuckerberg turns into Facebook serves as a slap in the face to their entitlement. What's true and what isn't doesn't quite matter for the purposes of this film; in the end Facebook's "status" is bigger than all its players.