'The Social Network'
(Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, et al / NR / 91 mins)
Overview: The remarkable story behind Facebook comes to the big screen with this Columbia Pictures production scripted by The West Wing's Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac). The year was 2003. Computer programming wizard Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) was a Harvard undergrad when he laid the foundation for a social networking website that would revolutionize the way we communicate. Six years later the ambitious entrepreneur made his first million -- but that was just the beginning.
Verdict: What worth do we place on the friends that we carry on our Facebook pages? To what extent do they replace, extend, revitalise or decay our real world relationships? Are they an opportunity for authenticity or performance? Reality or ciphers? The answer will vary depending on the user, and their intent. Some users have tens of friends. Others hundreds. It's no longer uncommon to have friends numbering in the thousands.
And for those peddling more than friendship - those selling products or rebranding their own corporate identity - hundreds of thousands of connections can be the norm. We're social animals, yes, but how nourishing are these new media connections that we make, break and rebuild? Is there strength in numbers, or is two still the only number that really counts?
These questions are at the heart of David Fincher's sobering, adult and exquisitely crafted drama The Social Network, which is an early frontrunner for Academy Award gold. The Social Network is about a man who has accrued 500,000,000 minions but seems incapable of making the core connections that he desires most. They say that a person is lucky to count their true friends on one hand. By the end of The Social Network, it's clear that for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, there are five fingers too many on that hand.
Clever, cutting and debateable, The Social Network should inspire discussion - most likely played out on Facebook - for months to come.