“The Social Network”

For movie fanatics everywhere, the nightmare year of unfortunate films may finally draw to a close with the release of “The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher. Few will recall the pristine joy of the British “Fish Tank” or the innate intensity of Jacques Aduiard’s “A Prophet.” If you’ve been able to find a kindred spirit with whom to talk about the merits and failures of Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg,” hold on to that relationship – it matters. For months, American moviegoers have had to fight against the crucifixion of our tastes as flop after flop has bombarded our senses and our wallets (remember when Tim Burton robbed all of us last April?). Is “Inception” really the only thing we can find to talk about the day after a visit to the theater? Yes. Weeks and months after seeing “Inception,” it’s actually what we’re still talking about. We’ve been chewing on Mr. Nolan’s unworthy thriller since July only because Hollywood has withheld any better blockbusters. “The Social Network” is our next ration and a surprisingly generous one, though not likely to reach the heights of the classics. Audiences worried about not being able to relate to the “Facebook movie” should put their generational prejudices behind them and purchase a ticket. The narrative has as much to do with notifications and status updates as “Field of Dreams” had to do with corn. The story follows creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg) through his quest to make sense of the world around him and his role in it. Unchecked disdain, exaggerated arrogance and incredible aptitude for computer programming make the protagonist unconventially captivating. Zuckerberg faces different forms of rejection throughout the entire movie, from his days on the outside of the social scene at Harvard to his period of opulence and success. He arduously manipulates social structure by means of exclusivity in a similar way to the social clubs at Harvard, to which he was denied entry. Zuckerberg requires the first members of Facebook to possess a “” email address. Out of bitter defiance, Zuckerberg attempts to expand the elitist system that reviled him since day one. Through his successes and failures, he explores the merits of exclusivity versus egalitarianism. “The Social Network” excels in narrative structure, told smartly through flashbacks stemming from numerous litigation meetings between Zuckerberg and a variety of plaintives. The artful cinematography features two tone lighting, eerily reminiscent of your Facebook homepage, and a regatta scene which almost convinced me I would like crew. The movie struggles with the over-dramatization of certain events, a problem that especially impedes the character development of Eduardo (Andrew Garfield), the initial CFO of Facebook. It turns him into a one-dimensional portrayal of ethical business practice, which is somehow supposed to make us feel bad when he gets done in by legalities. “The Social Network” is the first laudable movie of the fall season, but it only stands out because it breaks the long chain of dissappointments movie watchers have faced for months. It’s good, it’s Facebook, but let’s not put too much faith in it. Grade: 5-