The Social Network

One of the best of the year

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg): "If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."

It is not Citizen Kane, but David Fincher's Social Network has the energy of young Charles Foster Kane descending with his wunderkinds to take over a newspaper because it "would be fun."

So too Mark Zuckerberg, who has become the world's youngest billionaire by inventing Facebook. This biopic chronicles his rise from an undergrad at Harvard, where he and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) begin a campus wide comparison of coeds that led to a global social network phenomenon.

Along the way Zuckerberg, not destined to win any congeniality awards, legally fights the upper-crust Winklevoss brothers, who claim he took their idea, and Saverin, who didn't fit well as CFO. Whether or not Zuckerberg contributed to Saverin's downfall is an important consideration in establishing Zuckerman's complicated character, who not only comes up with winning programming but also must engage and disengage operatives as brilliant as Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the founder of Napster.

The opening sequences where the great ideas take shape on the campus are the most electric and closest to helping us to understand the workings of genius. We learn he's a computer uber-geek and a workaholic who gets results just as Kane/ Welles did. Just as in the latter cases, we really don't know who these gifted entrepreneurs really are inside, yet listening to their witty dialogue, more like frat-boy screwball comedy than ordinary repartee, is the film's greatest joy, albeit some of the words are lost in the race.

But it sure is fun trying to find out. In the spirit of All the President's Men, The Social Network is necessary viewing for those who want inspiration to start an enterprise and for those who just want an affirmation of the supremacy of ideas and hard work.