Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2011
The biggest question surrounding Time’s Person of the Year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, is how such an antisocial wonk was able to create this phenomenal new social milieu. Ah, but the fact that he didn’t quite do it alone is the crux of this fascinating, frightening, funny (and fictionalized) film. The subject matter is inherently uninteresting; intellectual property lawsuits are not rare in Silicon Valley. But this film plays like a thriller—ideas explode, words are weapons, and the only thing being chased is money. The movie’s effectiveness is thanks mostly to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), whose spellbinding dialogue works superbly with director David Fincher’s crisp, intelligent craftsmanship. These guys make a nearly untellable story understandable, illustrating it with what-the-hell-happened flashbacks during a couple of legal depositions. Jesse Eisenberg, as Zuckerberg, impressively fires off Sorkin’s lines with machine-gun delivery, and he’s even a little scary when he makes his eyes go dead. And Andrew Garfield is excellent as screwed-over co-founder Eduardo Saverin. The big surprise is Justin Timberlake’s fine turn as Napster founder and general Silicon Valley sleazeball Sean Parker. Nice for once to see a blockbuster that hasn’t been dumbed down for the multiplex crowd. I hope it’s a trend.