Mark Whelan Best of the Decade

The Best Films of the The Decade: The Social Network

Best Of The Decade The Social Network (2010)

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It’s hard to imagine a world without Facebook. Ever since it originated in 2004 and

slowly but surely integrated into our everyday lives (and in turn spawning countless

variations to its likeness) the idea that modem life existed at all without Mark

Zuckerberg’s little undertaking seems almost unthinkable. While David Fincher’s The

Social Network (2010) highly critical— borderline scathing-account of Zuckerberg’s

controversial social media outlet may not be a factotum of facts, it surely makes for a

brainy and provoking slice of entertainment.

Fincher is no stranger for providing an impressive display of powerful imagery. The

Social Network is bathed in his signature Baroque lighting (exquisitely captured by

cinematographer, and longtime Fincher collaborator, Jeff Cronenweth); a meditative

locality for its ambitious young protagonist (Jesse Eisenberg) to wrestle with his own

insecurities. This sublimely nightmarish landscapes of highly contrasted imaging and

brooding atmosphere are heightened by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ Oscar-winning

score: an eerie concoction of industrial, techno, and ambient synthesizers.

Fincher is only as good as his script, however, and that’s where the real star of the

film — in the guise of Aaron Sorkin ’s screenplay (also a statuette receiver )—shines brightest.

Based off Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of

Facebook, the talented Sorkin serves up plenty of delicious dialogue and storytelling

savvy, yet still manages to create a brisk enough pace to sustain us for two hours. Sharp,

funny, and perceptive, Sorkin’s writing is a playing field for even the most amateurish

thespian to glow.

That’s not suggesting Eisenberg and company aren’t up to the task. Eisenberg’s patented

neuroticism and precarious idiosyncrasies are aptly suited for his portrayal of this

Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield’s boyish charm amply embodies the naivete of his closest

companion—who incidentally ends up suing him—and Justin Timberlake has never been

better as Sean Parker, the ebullient entrepreneur (and digital music pioneer) who aids in

catapulting Zuckerberg’s little coding project into a pop-culture phenomenon. Armie

Hammer is also fun in a dual role as the Winklevoss brothers: twin brothers and Harvard

who accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea.

The Social Network is a penetrating and ingeniously crafted drama about one of the

twenty-first century’s most significant innovations. It would be foolish to omit it from any

of the best films of the 2010s.

 

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