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Jesse Eisenberg absolutely nails the role of Mark Zuckerberg, seething with manic asocial energy and the need to be great no matter what the cost. From the opening scene where he plants his flip-flop clad foot firmly in his mouth by telling this girlfriend she doesn’t need to study because she “goes to B.U.”, Eisenberg latches on to the role and makes it his own. If Zuckerberg was the one driving the story forward in his frantic quest to make his mark then it is the role of Eduardo Saverin, played with an impressive balance of naïveté and distrust by Andrew Garfield , that is the conscience of the movie. The interplay between the two friends, both in the scenes viewed in hindsight during their days at Harvard and those during the eventual litigation between the two, is what gives the movie its heart and surprising emotional weight.
On a side-note, the parts of twin Harvard Crew team rowers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss is played by a third generation trust-fund kid named Armie Hammer, making it all the more easy for me to use them/him as my voodoo-doll of spite for the backdrop of Harvard and enjoy the rest of the film. Armie Hammer? Really? He couldn’t be more WASPy if he dressed like a puritan and used words like “harrumph” and “bully!!!” as exclamations while burning Catholics.
In the end The Social Network highlights both Zuckerberg’s shrewdness as well as his faults in a light that gives his character an unexpected dimension: that of a tragic figure that brought the world closer together through founding Facebook but despite all of his wealth is still on the outside looking in. Just like blowing way too much time while screwing around on facebook, the two-hour run time will be over before you know it leaving you free to go home and discuss, ‘like’ and start a fan site with your real friends online.