David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's Facebook movie opens next week and the reviews are coming in. Surprisingly (?), stuffy old movie critics seem to think it's, well, brilliant. Let's take a look at what some folks had to say.
The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt (who must have been named after a porn actor in a Dickens novel) was "mesmeriz[ed]" by how aggressively unlikable the film's protagonist, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, comes off:
Mark exists in his own world. He dresses like he just rolled out of bed and doesn't relate to people half as well as he does to computers, algorithms and user databases. He finds people, at best, helpful to his creations or, at worst, annoying. He cannot speak civilly to anyone yet has the verbal skills to hone in on sore points with his acquaintances. His oral jousting with the deposing attorneys is brilliantly rendered in dialogue Sorkin presumably lifted from transcripts.
So the film comes down to a mesmerizing portrait of a man who in any other age would perhaps be deemed nuts or useless, but in the Internet age has this mental agility to transform an idea into an empire. Yet he still cannot rule his own life to the point he doesn't lose what's important to him.
A very modern story inspires a classic study in ego, greed and the slippery nature of American enterprise in "The Social Network," David Fincher's penetrating account of the accidental founding of Facebook. Moving like a speedboat across two hours of near-nonstop talk, scribe Aaron Sorkin's blow-by-blow deconstruction of how Harvard computer whiz Mark Zuckerberg (and friends) stumbled on a multibillion-dollar phenomenon continues Fincher's fascinating transition from genre filmmaker extraordinaire to indelible chronicler of our times.
The story of the virtually accidental birth of Facebook and the subsequent (and continuing) squabbling over the identity of its actual parents, "The Social Network" is a knock-out-on a first viewing, it seems almost indecently smart, funny and sexy. The second time around, with the witty intelligence of Aaron Sorkin's script and the electrifying verve of David Fincher's direction no longer a surprise, half the time I sat there marveling at the similarities of the story, themes and structure to "Citizen Kane."
Citizen Kane! That is not a lightly tossed-around film comparison. Or at least it shouldn't be.
Thanks to lightning-fast line readings by Eisenberg and other actors, there is probably more dialogue in "The Social Network" than all of Fincher's other movies (including "Zodiac" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") put together.
My attention never flagged, thanks to Fincher's ever-moving camera, and because Zuckerberg is such an engrossing character.
As conceived by Sorkin and played by Eisenberg in an intensely complicated performance, he's an idiot savant reminiscent of the Mozart depicted in "Amadeus," as well as the tragically ambitious characters depicted in "Citizen Kane" and "What Makes Sammy Run?"
There's that ol' Citzy Kane analogy! Could this movie — about a silly computer program — really be such a tremendous work of art? Judging by these glowing love letters, it is.
Well, crap. Now we really want to see it. Like, unironically.