A sinister spin on social networking

Keep your friends close...

CERT: 12A 

DIRECTOR: David Fincher 

STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer

RUMOUR has it Mark Zuckerberg is less than pleased with his portryal in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

It might have something to do with the way he comes across as a borderline sociopath whose raison d’etre can be traced back to something as banal as getting revenge on his ex-girlfriend.

Yes, it’s true. The birth of a life-altering mode of communication was not borne of genuine intellect, but because Zuckerberg wanted to get back at the girl who broke his heart.

Oh and he stole the idea to get there.

Played with great control by Jesse Eisenberg, the sordid affair begins one night in 2003 when Zuckerberg retreats to his Harvard dorm room after being dumped by fellow student, Erica.

He downs a few beers, blogs about her breasts and creates a nasty little website called Facemash which rates the ‘hotness’ of female undergrads.

His creation peaks the interest of the chiselled Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) who approach Eisenberg with an idea for an academically exclusive networking site called The Harvard Connection. 

Zuckerberg agrees to build it then avoids them for six weeks while he creates ‘TheFacebook,’ an academically exclusive networking site. Wait, this sounds familiar.

Unsurprisingly, the Winklevoss twins don’t take too kindly to intellectual property theft and the tale unfolds through the duelling narratives of simultaneous lawsuits, one between Zuckerberg and the twins and another with his former best friend, Eduardo, who provided the cash to get Facebook off the ground.

 Throw Napster’s manipulative Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) in the mix, whose valued contribution to the Company is to drop ‘the’ from Facebook’s title and the dangerous relationship between money and loyalty shines a sinister light on the origins of online networking.

 The fact that not even a modicum of sympathy can be felt for Zuckerberg is a tribute to Eisenberg’s performance as he captures a conscience-free man who excuses right and wrong on the basis of technicalities.

On the way to acquiring 500 million virtual acquaintances the socially inept Zuckerberg manages to build a site designed to make friends and ends up alone.

The world’s youngest billionaire is left repeatedly refreshing the friend-request button on Erica’s profile, outing his creation for what it is: a site that thrives on cyber-stalking and paranoia.

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