DRAMA; M, 2hr
STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara
Unfriended: Garfield (left) and Eisenberg
The Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) of director David Fincher’s fabulous telling of the Facebook tale is a brilliant, abrasive, motormouthed conundrum. Zuckerberg is so ahead of the curve that in 2003, at age 19, while chugging beer after being dumped by his girlfriend (Mara), he crashes the Harvard computer network by hacking into it to create a smash-hit girl-rating site that would be the precursor of the Facebook phenomenon, now globally uniting 500-plus million people.
In a vicious swipe of irony, Facebook has also bitterly divided the bright sparks involved in its creation. Four years later, Zuckerberg’s best friend, Eduardo Saverin (Garfield), who ponied up the initial funds, and twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (Armie Hammer plays them both), who claim that Zuckerberg stole their concept, would be suing him for a fortune.
Aaron Sorkin’s spellbinding, rapid-fire screenplay cuts back and forward between the perspectives of the players, pulling no punches and passing no judgment as each conflicting base is covered. (Timberlake is full of beans as Napster co-founder Sean Parker.) The tangled ambiguity is intriguing not just for its clashing perspectives but also for the conflicted dynamic of Zuckerberg, the subversive hacker turned billionaire entrepreneur. Lookalike Eisenberg is scarily great in the part, nailing a fierce intensity that’s daunting, unreadable and absolutely right.