Master director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Game) mines big drama out of the origins of Facebook in this entertaining zeitgeist-grabber. Using the various ownership lawsuits that occurred as Facebook was blowing-up as a framing device, Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (TV's The West Wing) jump into various critical moments in its formation, which generally involve a bunch of guys tapping away at computers and talking about girls.
Superficially, it doesn't scream "movie" but the ensuing implications of these moments cast a hugely dramatic shadow. And once the betrayals and lawsuits start flying, there's no shortage of conflict to mine.
Lead Jesse Eisenberg's electric performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg creates an instantly iconic movie anti-hero. It is testament to Eisenberg's skills that he sustains audience empathy as the film casts him in an increasingly negative light.
Justin Timberlake's muted arrogance is put to good use as internet demi-god Sean Parker (an early Facebook champion who also founded Napster), and Armie Hammer is highly amusing playing two Harvard jock twins who made a claim to Facebook ownership.
Fincher holds back his usual extreme visual stylisation, allowing the characters the focus they deserve. His directorial slickness gells beautifully with Sorkin's trademark snappy patter dialogue. The exact truth of what is on screen has come under scrutiny, but the film places the ultimate interpretation of the events with the viewer. An absolute must-see.
Running time: 120 minutes